The Woman in the Window is a good summer thriller
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published 2019, 455 pages
I was prepared to be put off to the seeming similarity to the movie Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart. However, it is similar in only the very broadest of terms. It's engaging and surprising. It drew me in from the first chapter and kept me turning pages steadily to find out what would happen next.
The plot is simple and not particularly unusual on its face. Anna Fox, child psychologist, is an agoraphobic who watches her neighbors obsessively, and thinks she sees a murder. Of course, events transpire to make her question her conclusions. And what a great unreliable narrator she is!
An interesting characteristic is that she's an old film buff and watches those old black and white movies obsessively. The movies are chosen to match her moods and that reinforces some of her memories and emotions. Her food and medications are delivered, her therapist visits occasionally as does a neighbor, a teenager - she can let people in as long as she doesn't have to see the open door to the outside.
We gradually learn about the traumatic event that caused her to retreat inside and how being inside comforts her and being outside terrifies her; we spend time in her head as she tries to psychoanalyze herself (she's a psychologist after all); we meet a few of her sketchy neighbors, but really the focus is on her. Her feelings about her condition are very well presented.
“My head was once a filing cabinet. Now it’s a flurry of papers, floating on a draft.”
Similar to other recent books with equally unreliable narrators, The Woman in the Window sets itself apart due to Finn's writing style: descriptive without being flowery or overdone, brisk without being abrupt, in Anna's head without being angst-filled. The twist is one I didn't see coming till she led me right up to it. The ending was slightly Hollywood, but satisfying none-the-less.
I'd classify this book as a page-turner and highly recommend it as a great summer read.
Reading Challenge: #BooklistQueen #1: movie being made this year (probably not now though due to Covid)
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