‘This evenings selection : The Man Who Knew too Much, for the umpteenth time. I am the woman who viewed too much’
The Woman in The Window is the bestselling novel and soon to be movie from AJ Finn. Published by Harper Collins/ William Morrow, this is a book that has remained top of the book-charts and seems to have taken the world by storm.
‘Sold in 40 territories around the world and currently in development as a major film at Fox 2000, to be produced by Oscar winner Scott Rudin and written by Pulitzer winner Tracy Letts.’
It was the March choice for the book-club I am involved with. Please do continue for my thoughts….
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?
Book Review :
Anna Fox suffers from agoraphobia. Having not left her home for over ten months, Anna has become a recluse. Her only comforts are her daily dose of Merlot and her Nikon D5500 camera. From behind her window, Anna watches the comings and goings of her neighbours, recounting the finer details of their lives. Her inability to step outside, due to terrifying anxiety and panic attacks, results in her watching movies on a recurring basis. By now Anna has seen all the old classics, all the old Hitchcock thrillers that enhance her day and delay the inevitable boredom that follows. Lost in the swirling contents of her wine glass or in many cases, straight from the bottle, Anna’s reality can sometimes get quite blurred. Combined with the high quantity doses of prescribed medication, Anna’s world sometimes gets a little confused, as she jumps between reality and her imagination.
Anna in a previous existence was a well respected child psychologist but the impact of a traumatic event has resulted in her withdrawal from her practice and a withdrawal from life.
Anna becomes obsessed with watching her neighbours as they go about their daily business. She creates fictitious lives for them and through her camera she watches…and watches…..
One day something changes for Anna, when a new family moves into her road, the Russells. Anna becomes fascinated with their lives, almost obsessively, as she studies their patterns from her pew at the window. She thinks back to her own previous life, the happiness of those days, before she became trapped by these all encompassing feelings of panic. She remembers the fun days, but she also remembers the not so fun days and soon returns to her glass of vino and one of her favourite classic movies, in the hope that these memories will be pushed back down for another few hours.
Anna has a tenant who lives in the basement, so she does have limited communication with the outside world. She orders everything in on-line and her tenant does a few odd jobs for her. She has a physiotherapist who calls in occasionally to help ease out her muscles, but other than that Anna Fox is alone.
One night all this changes, when following a rather unusually happy encounter with another person, Anna hears a scream and witnesses an event that leaves her shocked and bereft.
Anna is not a trustworthy witness, so with noone to believe her and noone to really listen to her, Anna attempts to investigate this frightening event herself. As the days go by, Anna struggles with her reality. What did she really see? Was it the medication? Was it the combination of alcohol and meds? If she can prove what she has seen, will anyone believe her?
The Woman in the Window is a page-turner, of that there is no doubt. It is the perfect book to pick-up, if you are looking for a holiday/beach read or if you just want a book that is easy to get into and very easy to read.
It is a psychological thriller with a bit of The Girl on The Train mixed with Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and you could add a touch of Gone Girl.
I have read that the author used some of his own personal experiences battling mental health issues in writing the novel and he did state in an interview with NPR that ‘while adjusting to new medication, he took some time off from work. He watched a lot of old moves — his other great passion. And one day as Hitchcock’s Rear Window played in the background, he looked out his own window and noticed his neighbor across the street.’
The Woman in The Window will certainly make a very successful box-office-smashing movie. It may encourage a whole new generation of people to watch some of those wonderful old classic B & W films. It’s a solid read. It’s an enjoyable read, but, for me, it lacked somewhat in it’s originality, leaving me a little on-the-fence with it. Maybe I was expecting more, as can oft-times happen when there is so much hype surrounding a book, maybe I was expecting something with a more original twist/plot-line.
AJ Finn’s next novel is based in San Francisco and it will be interesting to see what direction it will take…
Purchase Link ~ The Woman in The Window
A. J. Finn has written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the Times Literary Supplement.
Finn’s debut novel, The Woman in the Window, has been sold in thirty-eight territories worldwide and is in development as a major motion picture from Fox.
A native of New York, Finn lived in England for ten years before returning to New York City.
Twitter ~ @AJFinnBooks