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
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.
4.5 stars!! Okay, the hype this book is getting is warranted. I usually stink at guessing the outcome of a mysterious plot, the “who done it” but I was spot on this time (yes!) and that still didn’t deter me from loving this book. The ending? CRAZY!!! P.S. Loved all the movie references!!
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.
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.
You don't know how happy I was to get my greedy little paws on both the audio and Kindle versions of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. My expectations were through the roof! Have you seen all those 5 star reviews?
As it turns out, the book doesn't live up to the hype. Yes, it is as addictive as popcorn, I couldn't put it down. But, there are so many disappointing drawbacks that I couldn't rate it a 4 star read.
For audio-lovers, do not waste your precious Audible credit on this one. It is absolute trash. The actress portraying our boozy, traumatized victim/narrator is chirpy and confident sounding. Talk about a mindf*k! It does not work. In contrast, a similar book, The Girl on the Train is sheer perfection on audio.
At about 40%, I turned off the audio, opened my Kindle and aaaaahhhh...the world made sense again. You know how much I love my unreliable narrators and our girl, Anna, is a doozy. Although she is terrified to step outside of her home, all kinds of interesting events still manage to take place in her small neighborhood. She spies on the nearby residents out of boredom. She's a regular Gladys Kravitz (you know, from Bewitched?). We can't trust Anna's narration because she is depressed and suffering from a traumatic event. And she pops a lot of pills and glugs wine as a chaser. Yeah, her take on the neighbors is suspect at best.
All this is great. Absorbing. But, you know those people that use too many words and make simple matters overly boring? AJ Finn is one of those kind of writers. My patience runs thin with passages like this:
Frigid air seizes my body, so raw that my heart feels faint; storms my clothes, sets them trembling around me. My ears brim with the sound of wind. I'm filling up with cold, running over with cold.
Ugggghhhhh. I think she's cold.
The book is so long and repetitive. It has an interesting, yet heavily borrowed upon plot and there are a couple of major twists. The plot twists are predictable, you will see them from a mile away, but it is still fun to see if your hunches were right (they will be).
Just one more thing. Finn shoves a ton of film references into the storyline. At first, I loved it. Then, it becomes too much. It's as if he's saying, "I'm not borrowing plot lines, I'm just referencing them." Wink-wink. It's all too heavy handed and cutesy, we know what's really going on. There is not a single original concept about this book. Ultimately, underwhelming.