A.J. Finn: The Woman In The Window
Published By: HarperCollins (25 Jan 2018)
Buy It: here
What The Blurb Says:
What did she see?
It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.
Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.
But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?
What I Say:
First of all, thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins who provided me with a free E-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
I knew that this book was one of the most anticipated reads of this year, and had heard lots about it both on social media and in the press. I was so delighted to be approved to receive a review copy, but it was also a lot of pressure because I was worried that it would not live up to its promise, and my whole ethos is only talking about books that I love.
Let me start by saying this. Believe the hype, and miss this novel at your peril.
Yes, it is a psychological thriller, but it picks up the genre, shakes it, twists it on its head and breathes a whole new lease of life back into it!
It is also a difficult book to review because giving away too many plot points would completely ruin your enjoyment! It is packed full of twists and turns, none of which I guarantee that you will either see coming, or be able to work out what is happening.
We meet Dr Anna Fox, a child psychologist, and is currently in the grip of agoraphobia. An incident has resulted in her being separated from her husband and daughter, and an increasing dependence on alcohol and the medication she takes to cope with her agoraphobia means that her grip on reality is at best hazy, and at worse, she is unable to remember what she has done.
Confined to her home, Anna spends her days playing chess, watching movies, and keeping a close eye on the comings and goings of the neighbours in her street. She has few visitors, and finds comfort in helping others on an internet forum dedicated to fellow agoraphobia sufferers.
Anna becomes fascinated by the Russell family who move in across from her house, almost envying the life they lead as she rattles around her home existing from medication to medication and drink to drink. A.J. Finn creates a world for Anna which feels increasingly unsettling and uncomfortable, and almost claustrophobic in its scope, but at the same time, it gives Anna the safety and control she needs to function – albeit fuelled by her dependence on alcohol and mediation.
This is what gives The Woman In The Window a new dimension. We are presented with an increasingly unreliable narrator, living in a self induced haze – can we really believe anything she tells us? When Anna is finally brave enough to push herself and meet someone to have an evening of relaxed fun and a good old chat, it leads to one of the biggest shocks in the book, that starts a whole chain of events which relentlessly spin out of control, propelling Anna front and centre. The cocoon that she has carefully constructed, in order to protect herself from the outside world, is pulled apart by neighbours, the police and even those few people Anna has to let in to her world in order to function. No one believes her version of events – and why should they?
The pace of the novel is unrelenting- the phrase ‘page turner’ is often overused in book marketing, but The Woman In The Window genuinely is one. Once the story gets going, it just does not let up. You are never sure whether what you are reading is what actually happened, or whether you are seeing Anna’s version of the world around her. One thing is for sure, this is one of the few novels I have read recently that genuinely had me mystified as I tried to work out what was happening!
As it hurtles towards its climax, you read revelation after revelation, and little by little, the fractured pieces of Anna’s past slot into place as she attempts to make sense of the chaotic world she has been pulled into.
The Woman In The Window is a wonderfully filmic novel, brilliantly written at a breakneck speed. It is also a chilling and a deft examination of what it means to be deemed as unreliable and unbelievable when you are trying to prove to people that you are the one person who really knows the truth.
A J Finn has written a superb novel that had me hooked from the start, and I loved it.