The Woman in the Window: Is It Fair to Compare A.J. Finn to Hitchcock?

The Woman in the Window, AJ, Finn

What a book to start 2018 on!  I mean, I have read a lot of the hype and seen the book listed on many different reading lists for the New Year, so it has to be good right?!?!?

Goodreads states that we need to ‘get ready for the biggest thriller of 2018!’ whilst Gillian Flynn said that it was ‘astounding, thrilling, amazing’ and Stephen King mentioned that it is ‘one of those rare books that really is unputdownable’, so realistically it was a novel I naturally wanted to pick up.

The Woman in the Window

Who is she? This woman starting out of her window each day – finding faults in the lives of others, cataloguing their movements.

 Whilst the world moves around outside, this woman is living her own life through them – joining one neighbours book club from afar, spying on an affair and folding and observing the arrival of a new family.  Her vigilance to neighbour watching is quite admirable.  The chance of anything untoward happening on her watch is, quite frankly, unlikely.  Or is it?

But who is this woman?

Reading the opening chapters I automatically jump to the wrong conclusion.  The actions of this still unknown woman, led me to believe that she was older, perhaps retired.  However, her ability to surf the internet; to find details on her newest neighbours in such a quick time, was at odds with that perception.

Turns out I was wrong. 

Anna Fox, a child psychologist, has been unable to leave her home for months and therefore her only connection to the real world is through other people that she watches day in, day out through her window.  Whether judging them or worrying about them she become the odd-ball neighbour that many would opt to stay away from.  But what has lead to this?  What trauma has caused this infliction?

“Watching is like nature photography. You don’t interfere with the wildlife” (Page 4)

I have of course heard of agoraphobia before, but other than believing it is a condition that prevents you from leaving the house, I couldn’t really list the symptoms to anyone.  After reading The Woman in the Window however, I do believe that I understand this rather complex condition more.  A.J. Finn has clearly spent time researching the disorder and incorporating elements effectively into this novel.  From panic attacks, to hyperventilating and anxiety, each sign of this debilitating condition have been expertly weaved into the story. 

Combining Anna’s medical problems with her neighbourly obsession is an ingenious writer’s touch helping to heighten the tension and suspense causing you to read on.   Add to this the shortening of the chapters when Anna’s hysteria and confusion increases and Stephen King was not lying when he said you can’t put the book down.

It does however seem that Anna does have her anxiety under control that is until her new neighbours, the Russells, move in.  It leads to a new obsession where she spends her days researching their previous lives, how much they paid for their home, what they did for a living, what they intend to do now that they have move to New York City.  Basically, her infatuation with them takes over her life and causes disturbing consequences.

However, it is only after Anna witnesses something truly alarming that things spiral completely out of control and her own sanity is questioned by everyone – the authorities included.

Reading The Woman in the Window makes you question how quickly you could make an intelligent woman go completely mad given the opportunity.  If you, and those around you, are experts in deception and manipulation I can imagine it would be extremely easy especially if they were already unbalanced due to their own recent tragedies.    

This is a narrative told solely by the lead character’s perspective.  Other characters are mentioned throughout her dialogue – which often takes place either in her head or outwardly to herself – but because we never hear how she is coming across to others we very quickly make our mind up on the other main characters – Jane and Alistair Russell and their awkward, quiet teenage son, Ethan, Detectives Little and Norelli and finally her own family, Husband Ed and daughter Olivia.  It is easy to jump to conclusions about others when you only have one person’s thoughts to work with.

The Woman in the Window, is a novel that highlights we should never judge people on first impressions and that what we believe we see is sometimes only a facade and the hidden murky truth is lying just below the surface if only we are willing to search for it.

Would I Recommend The Woman in the Window

When someone says you will not be able to put a book down, I am always dubious.  So often I have read a novel and have had to question why others enjoy it so much but with The Woman in the Window, this statement is actually true.

If you enjoy twisting thrillers where the plot changes directly numerous times and hidden themes are revealed throughout then this is a novel you will love.  I actually challenge anyone to pick it up and not enjoy it. 

A.J Finn has crafted a well-written, dark narrative complete with entertaining, laugh-out-loud moments and heart-wrenching, tear-worthy episodes.  It doesn’t matter how many psychological, crime thrillers you have read, I guarantee this one has so many unpredictable twists you will guess what is going to happen before it is upon you.

My advice, pick up a copy for yourself today.  You won’t regret it!

Are you a fan of this genre? Do have other psychological thrillers you would like to recommend to us?  Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Did you enjoy this article?  Then why not PIN it for later…

The Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn

Please note: The Woman in the Window, is not to be confused with the 1944 film of the same name (that was based on a book by J.H. Wallis), although a chilling theme does run through both.

Disclaimer: Travelling Book Junkie uses affiliate links within our articles. When you read reviews and buy books via our links, we receive a small commission that helps support our site at no additional cost to you.  We were given a copy of The Woman in the Window from the publishers but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

 

 

2 Comments

  • Suze Cassis says:

    Hi Tam,

    Sounds like one to add to my reading list. My suggestions in a similar vein are:

    – Sometimes I lie – Alice Feeney
    – A place of execution – Val McDermid

    Not quite the same but still gripping:

    – I am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes
    – Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafron
    – Complicity – Iain Banks

    Happy reading.

    • I read I am Pilgrim towards the end of last year – what a fantastic book. I admit I am also a bit of a Val McDermid fan but haven’t read any of the others. More for my TBR pile 🙂

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