A.J. Finn has used the tried and true unreliable narrator trope. However unlike Girl on the Train I did feel empathy for Anna. She had (I think) legitimate reasons for her alcoholism and pill popping PTSD.
The reader is taken inside Anna’s world; those four walls and four floors of her Harlem home. Never have I been so fascinated by the hum drum lives of neighbours. Anna’s prying, watching her neighbours through a camera lens and googling really creeped me out. How our lives are laid bare, details floating around the web to piece together by whomever.
Anna is by no means a recluse. She chats online to other agoraphobia suffers, is in a chess club and also has an online French tutor.
She quickly becomes obsessed with the new family, the Russells, recently moved in across the park. A mirror image of her own, once perfect, family. Mum, Dad and one child. Her husband and daughter left months ago but she still talks to them regularly.
One night Anna witnesses something horrific in the Russell home, something that cannot go unreported. However no-one believes her, claiming she is hallucinating due to the heavy cocktail of alcohol and drugs she is taking. More strange things happen which leave Anna questioning her own state of mind.
The Woman in the Window is an ode to old black and white noir movies. Anna spent her days watching these movies over and over and quite often quotes from these movies crash into her waking hours replicating in her life.
This is a book that will take over your mind, take over your life whilst you’re reading it. The writing is taut and atmospheric. I don’t think I’ve read a debut this chilling, this addictive.