THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW
“My head was once a filing cabinet. Now it’s a flurry of papers, floating on a draft.”
The Woman in the Window is a psychological thriller novel that makes you question everything till the end of the story. It revolves around a child psychologist, Anna Fox who is separated from her husband and daughter. She lives in her New York City house with a tenant in the basement who rarely is around. She is an alcoholic and obsessed with black and white movies. She is also an agoraphobe, meaning that she has an extreme fear of the open and crowded places. Because of this, she explores the world through her window and spies on her neighbors. She gets to know about the families and their activities in the neighborhood by using her camera to capture moments and incidents of them. One fine morning, a family named the Russels move in the house opposite to hers. Then, after continuously spying on them for days, Anna witnesses something that she shouldn’t have seen, sending her into a frenzy of private investigation, all from within the confines of her home.
Finn has written the whole plot exquisitely with twists strategically laid out between chapters. He takes you deep into the story, making you untangle the mystery with the protagonist. It makes you question everything, and at times, it makes you want to scream with frustration. The protagonist starts to question her own sanity due to the turn of events and so do you. The book actually focuses on the character development of the protagonist slowly and steadily, making it interesting by means of progression. Along with this, the author provides realistic and meticulous details about the phobia and has even described the legitimate drugs for it.
With Anna’s love affair for the film noir, the author pays an ultimate homage to Alfred Hitchcock and his movie genius. Given the fact that the plot is similar to that of Rear Window, there are various other Hitchcock movies that have been mentioned throughout the story, along with references of dialogues from those very films. Vertigo, Shadow of a Doubt, Spellbound, Strangers on a Train, Rope, The Man Who Knew Too Much, have been made to make an appearance within the chapters. And not only those of Hitchcock, but Finn has mentioned other classics as well, such as Gilda, Out of the Past, Diabolique, Ministry of Fear, and Double Indemnity. The way these movies are incorporated in the story is phenomenal and the flow through which it goes is so smooth that it actually feels like all those scenes and dialogues are part of the story rather than it being a separate movie as a whole.
“IT MAKES YOU QUESTION EVERYTHING, AND AT TIMES, IT MAKES YOU WANT TO SCREAM WITH FRUSTRATION.
That being said, the book is extremely slow at the beginning. The first quarter of the book is a crawl that might make some keep the book down. But, it picks up its pace there on. Similarly, there are just too many books written about a female protagonist who has a dark past and is an alcoholic. This book walks along the lines of The Girl on the Train, The Woman in Cabin 10, Sharp Objects, and Gone Girl, who are based completely on the thriller novel stereotype a disturbed and alcoholic woman who discover some mystery and start digging into those which leads to an unexpected ending. If one is an ardent reader of the genre, then this might be a long read for you. Along with this, there are graphic details of agoraphobia, anxiety, substance abuse, murder, alcoholism, death, and depression, which might be disturbing to some readers.
Despite these facts, the book keeps you guessing till the end and makes you want to unravel all the mysteries surrounding the protagonist as fast as possible, which makes the book unforgettable. And when the adapted movie for it comes out in 2020, make sure you’ve read it first.
Contributed by: Isha Bhusal
Book Curtasy: Laibary