The Woman in the Windowby Published 02 Jan 2018
|The Woman in the Window.pdf|
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
"The Woman in the Window" Reviews
A.J. Finn respins a contemporary version of Rear Window set in Manhattan, New York. This dark psychological thriller has the pill taking, wine drinking, ex-child psychologist, Dr Anna Fox, residing in a three storey home that is the sum total of her world. Anna, you see, is an agoraphobic, and cannot step outside her home, she has lived like this for 10 months after a mystery trauma blew apart her world. She lost her marriage, her family and her career, although she does spend considerable time in communication with her ex-partner and her daughter, who is in his custody. Anna spends her days engaged in various activities, such as chess and learning French. She is a old black and white crime noir film aficionado, that includes watching Hitchcock movies with their motifs that spill over into Anna's actual life.
Anna gets her dose of the outside world by people watching, observing the lives of her neighbours, like the Millers, through her window with her camera. A new family moves in directly opposite Anna, Alastair and Jane Russell with their son, Ethan. One day she observes a shocking event taking place in the Russells home. However, no-one believes her, including the police, and the Russells deny the allegations. Anna is your unreliable narrator, can she really be trusted? As Anna's paranoia levels reach sky high, she finds herself in increasing danger. She finds her past history colliding in her horrifying present. This is a story of twists, short chapters, and a narrative that proves to be fast paced, full of fear, tension and suspense. An engrossing and highly entertaining read that succeeded in holding my attention throughout. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.
I had “The Woman in the Window” on my list to read, but thought it would be awhile before I got to it. But then I came across it on Audible. So I decided to use one of my credits for it. I am starting to enjoy audiobooks a lot more, though I do find them harder to review. I usually have a ton of post-it tabs in the books I read that help me keep track of things. With audio, I’m usually relaxing and don’t want to stop to make a note.
Anna Fox was once an active child psychologist with a wonderful life. But after a traumatic event almost a year ago, everything changed. She now suffers from agoraphobia. Her home is her entire world…she no longer goes outside. Anna’s life now consists of old movies, a lot of wine (and prescription pills), and online chat rooms. But she’s also found another way to spend her time…. watching the neighbors through her camera lens. She knows everyone’s schedule; she even knows who is having an affair.
Anna notices a new family has moved into the house across the street. They are the Russell’s, a married couple with a teenage son. From everything Anna has seen they look like the perfect family. But of course, looks are often deceiving. One evening, as Anna is watching the Russell house she sees something she’s was never meant to see, something horrible… and it sends her life into a tailspin.
Did Anna really see what she thinks she did or is it possible she was wrong? Could she have hallucinated or had a bad dream? She doesn’t know who she can trust. She’s positive of what she saw but can she make others believe her? And if she’s right…could she be in danger too?
To be honest, I had a hard time getting into the story at first. I wasn't connecting to the story and characters as well as many other readers did, which is fine as we won't all love the same books. I think I may have been expecting something different. I was a bit confused at times and although I eventually warmed up to the story and to Anna, it did take longer than I expected. I did enjoy the last part of the book so I am glad that I didn’t stop reading.
There were some very good twists, though I did figure out a few things ahead of time. I did like how everything came together in the end with a twist that I did not see coming.
Overall I thought this was a decent psychological suspense novel and I’m looking forward to seeing what A.J. Finn writes next.
so, add my name onto the long list of superheroes who are conflicted about their powers, moaning about how alienating it is to have superhuman abilities, how it is truly more curse than boon.
because i have emerged from two weeks of debilitating illness physically enfeebled, but with a new power, like john smith in The Dead Zone - i can now call all of the twists. not one or two, but all. of. the. twists.
and this does not please me, or make me feel superior or smug. in fact, it’s kind of like a little magic went out of the world.
that’s not to say i didn’t enjoy this book - it’s a chewy psychological thriller with a good instinct for pacing and a juicy, if familiar, premise. basically, it’s Rear Window where agoraphobia is standing in for “broken leg,” and with another layer of unreliable narrator smooshed in by pretty much grabbing that drunk voyeur lady from The Girl on the Train to be the main POV narrator - a wine enthusiast on many prescription pills who cannot leave the house and whose main tether to the world is through the internet (which we all know to be the purest reflection of humanity), and spying on her wealthy neighbors through the zoom lens of her camera, when one night she witnesses a woman being murrrrdered; a woman she’s met and tentatively befriended, a woman she is told, after reporting the crime, simply does not exist.
already, it’s got great bones, and i understand why this is being hyped up as THE book of 2018. for a debut, it’s very impressive - the claustrophobia of trauma-based imprisonment is palpable, and the narrator’s love of classic films adds to the fraught atmosphere where references and scraps of dialogue blur the real/fantasy line from the constant background presence of something hitchcockian flickering on her laptop. and even the reveal/withhold ratio is well-maintained, for those of you whose high fevers and persistent hacking coughs have not left you with advanced sensory perception.
it’s a microwave popcorn book - fast and satisfying and buttery-slick, with SO! MANY! POPS! OF! SURPRISE! and even if you call every one of them, it’s still a satisfying treat.
now i am off to brood some more about my magical burdens.
It isn't paranoia if it's really happening...
The Woman in the Window is intoxicating, dark, and simply unputdownable. AJ Finn's debut novel is placed in current day, gentrified Harlem, New York City, where Dr. Anna Fox spends her day in her five-story townhouse drinking Merlot, spying on her neighbors, and mixing pills to numb her thoughts. She has theories and pseudo-storylines for her neighbors, each one being unique and different in their own way. When she is not photographing and spying on her neighbors, Anna watches famous black and white movies to pass the time and regularly checks in with her daughter and husband, who she recently has separated from. Anna suffers from agoraphobia, preventing her from leaving the confines of her house and limiting her ability to experience the real world effectively. Her hours, days, and weeks are consumed by fear and curiosity. When her new neighbors move in across the park from her house, Anna is intrigued at their anonymity. As she begins to investigate the story of her new neighbors, something horribly goes wrong. Anna witnesses something that shouldn't have happened—or did she?
I won this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway and literally jumped out of my bed and yelled, "YESSS!!!" I immediately was drawn to the story because let's face it, spending time spying on your neighbors while drinking too much wine sounds like my Friday nights. I was curious to see how this story would develop and see what the hype was about. After getting hooked in right from the beginning, I figured out why. The Woman in the Window will definitely not be for everybody. The initial pacing is moderate, to say the least. I wouldn't classify it as a slow burn however, because as the story progresses, the character development of Anna and the provided characters becomes ever more intriguing. Nothing is rushed or overlooked—everything is portrayed at exactly the right time. Why is Anna agoraphobic? What's her mental state like? How is she coping? What's going on in the outside world that she's missing? Who are all these people around her? These are just some of the questions that pulled me in while starting The Woman in the Window and it kept me guessing until the end.
The Woman in the Window breaks away from the mold of some of the more recent in-your-face psychological thrillers that have been sprouting out more and more since the release of the book that shall not be named, and that's very refreshing to me. This type of psychological thriller really gets you in the mindset of Anna's psyche without throwing everything at you at once.
As I've stated earlier, this book will not be for everyone. This thriller breaks the mold and sets a new standard—so buckle up 2018!
Thank you Goodreads and William Murrow Books for my advanced copy.
5/5 Stars. I am SO BLOWN AWAY BY THIS NOVEL. The Woman In The Window is an absolutely amazing debut mystery-thriller. I cannot recommend it enough.
CW: agoraphobia, anxiety, depression, substance abuse/alcoholism, murder, death, grief
My favorite part of this novel is the writing style. A.J. Finn has the perfect sort of prose that forces you to think, “How can someone ACTUALLY think like this? How does someone forms the words to illustrate such a perfect passage?” This book is descriptive in a way I did not know ordinary things could be described. The writing is so beautiful. SO BEAUTIFUL. I am not the type of reader to get hung up on amazing vs. terrible writing, but I found myself pausing frequently while reading just to appreciate the sheer talent A.J. Finn possesses. I will literally read anything this man writes.
Being honest, The Woman in the Window is a bit slow to start. I listened to the audiobook so I don’t have an accurate understanding of the book page-number wise, but it took quite a few hours for the plot to really settle in. I feel the best way to describe the beginning of the book is “mundane” – It’s normal, ordinary, typical. We follow Anna through her routine, isolated days for many chapters at the start of the story with few peaks in plot to keep the story exciting. That being said, I can’t truthfully say it was boring. A.J. Finn’s writing is so intoxicating that reading about Anna sitting at her computer was enjoyable. It is slow paced to start, but not at all dragging and still enjoyable.
But of course, one of the absolute best aspects of the book is the immaculate plot. I love a thriller novel that has so many plot twists which all can convince me that the following twist is more believable than the last. Despite it’s slow pace, I felt as if I was at the edge of my seat for the entirety of the novel. I’m not the most prolific reader when it comes to thrillers, but The Woman In The Window is one of my favorites that I have ever read.
This book was absolutely amazing. I want to recommend it to absolutely everyone. I’m confident that A.J. Finn has become a new favorite author of mine and I’m so excited for the film adaptation of this novel and his future works.