The woman in the window by A J Finn

The Woman in the Window by A J Finn

Cover of woman in the window by A J Finn

Book review by Maureen Clark

Dr Anna Fox is a child psychologist who lives alone in a suburb of New York City. Why, is explained as the story progresses. She is agoraphobic, afraid to venture outside her door, as a result of some trauma she has experienced.

Anna views the world, or rather her neighbours’ lives, through her window via her powerful Nikon lens and chances to see one of her neighbours being murdered.

Or does she? Who can tell where reality begins and ends with Anna, an over-medicated drunk who spends her days (and nights) watching old black and white movies. If the plot seems familiar, her situation is reminiscent of the Hitchcock movie, Rear Window, and this is a post -modern construct used by the author with deliberate irony. Scenes and scraps of dialogue from the old Hitchcock and Vincent Price movies appear as Anna drifts in and out of consciousness; often, they seem to be a comment on her current state.

Our protagonist is the archetypal heroine of film noir movies  -  a helpless, solitary female living in a too- big house (with Gothic touches), locked away from the outside world. Usually, she would be rescued by a man, possibly Gregory Peck or James Stewart. Dr Anna Fox, however, is a modern, intelligent woman whose mind has been latterly reduced to a befuddled state through trauma and a variety of medications, hefty doses washed down with her favourite merlot.  She knows what she saw; no one will believe her.

The author has created an authentic and sympathetic character.  With the story told from Anna’s point of view, the reader easily engages with her character and the danger she faces. Finn’s writing is drastically pared back, reflecting Anna’s solitude and lack of lucidity and often resulting in a dark humour. It will come as no surprise that this thriller is now being made into a movie. The book has a liberal measure of mounting suspense that has just a touch of Hitchcock about it.

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