The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn
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?
I have seen the online hype for this novel and read the synopsis. It was a novel I HAD to HAVE! After several trips to the book store and returning empty handed. I finally found a copy. This novel is described as in the style of Hitchcock and certainly has a synopsis that is reminiscent of one of his most famous movies.
I was very intrigued!
Due to a chronic pain condition, I spend most of my time indoors. I rarely leave and even rarer socialise. This is the how/why to my never ending TBR pile. I devour novels to starve off the boredom.
I had to learn more about this fabulous bestseller, everyone is raving about.
The novel is told in diary style, opening in October and the following weeks. Our protagonist Anna, is a nosey neighbour. She is more on the scale of obsessive nosey neighbour. She knows who everyone is and has even taken to googling the neighbours for further details. But when new neighbours arrive at number 207, it will unravel Anna’s carefully organised little world.
Anna is a lonely woman, in a huge four floor, New York house. She has a womanising tenant named David and a cat named Punch. She clearly has some form of trauma or emotional pain in her background. But we must wait for Anna to tell us.
Anna is on a long list of medication, drinks wine by the bottle daily and has a wild imagination. Which makes her one hell of an unreliable narrator. But she is unbelievably addictive.
I was hooked to the page and desperate to know how the plot unravelled.
Anna is separated from her husband Ed and he has custody of their daughter Olivia. She speaks to them daily via the telephone and through the novel we learn more of their history as a couple. I found Anna to be very self-destructive and desperate for company. She spends hours in her home, watching old back and white movies or absorbed in her online community Agrora, for fellow suffers of agoraphobia.
The new family in the neighbourhood are Alistair and Jane Russell, with their teenage son Ethan. Anna’s house directly looks onto theirs and she becomes obsessed with watching them at the window, through her Nikon camera lens.
I had a feeling this would end badly. But for whom?
When Ethan makes attempts to befriend Jane, she lets down her guard. He’s just a kid and she is a trained child psychologist. She sees a lonely vulnerable child and he probably sees a lonely vulnerable adult. In one sense it is a meeting of minds.
When Ethan’s mother Jane pops over one day, they begin talking and drinking, as women often do. It isn’t long until Anna and Jane have confided in one another. Anna of her PTSD and agoraphobia and Jane of her controlling marriage. They play chess and drink more wine and I wondered if Anna had finely found a real friend. That is until one night, shortly after, a scream is heard, and Anna becomes convinced Jane has come to harm.
What follows is revelation upon revelation.
As Anna’s past and present collide in a dramatic and well woven plot. I trusted her less and less. Her backstory only makes you empathise with her struggles and in turn you begin to make excuses for her irrational behaviour. I found myself trying to pick apart the narrative to fathom the truth, I was at an absolute loss. Anna is complex and strong minded, yet she draws you in and won’t let go.