The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Published: 2018 by William Morrow
Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
The story of The Woman in the Window is not a new one. We’ve read about traumatized characters locking themselves inside the haven of their world before. We’ve read about characters projecting their desires onto their neighbors, characters who seek solace in a bottle, characters who let routine guide them as though it’s the master and them the puppet. However, what makes this novel so good is Finn’s strong characterization of Anna Fox. I could see things from her perspective and not get mad at the illogical things she’s doing. I could feel how she felt at times, and even bawled my eyes out when things got revealed because I cared for her. She reminds me of Joy Stone from The Trick is to Keep Breathing and they’re both really heartbreaking characters real enough to be human.
Even so, there are some faults that I found in this book—small faults perhaps but faults nonetheless. The first is that although the narrative is both brief and comprehensive, there are moments when certain parts sound like an information dump (i.e.: Chapter 3 where we get information on how the interior of Anna’s house is like). This didn’t disrupt my initial reading experience but when I went back to read it again with a more objective mindset, those parts feel like they can be improved upon—descriptions spread out more and lesser repetitions or usage of synonyms so that they don’t sound so disingenuous.
Also, there are two lines in the beginning that made the narrative was iffy to me: “What is it about that house? It’s where love goes to die” (p.3). I had doubted that the narrative would improve after that but I was proven wrong, of course. Even so, those lines threw me off (they still do because really, how many people actually think them, full lines and altogether?) since the way they sound doesn’t match the tone of the other lines. I think it would’ve been better if Finn wrote ‘Love dies in that house’ or something similar.
Other than that, I’ve read a few reviews saying that the twists are pretty obvious and that they weren’t remarkable, and I both agree and disagree with them. Agree because when I reread those twists, they are obvious and unremarkable. Disagree because during my initial read, I was completely absorbed into the story—stuck in the heat of the moment and blinded to many clues. I didn’t see those twists from miles away, didn’t even see them until they slapped me right in the face. So yeah, despite the obviousness and the lack of remarkableness, those twists can still deliver punches when given the opportunity.
All in all, this is a fast-paced thriller that won’t unlatch its claws from your attention, even when it’s way past your usual sleeping hour and you need to wake up early the following morning. For the best reading experience, let yourself be absorbed by the text and you may be thrown off by the twists and feel more for Anna too.