The Woman in the Window, A.J.Finn, USA, 2018

The Woman in the Window, A.J.Finn, USA, 2018

I was in two minds about this book. The title – The Woman in the Window – and the fact that the book was written in the first person from the woman’s point of view, led me to believe that A.J.Finn was a woman. However, a few chapters into the book, I began to wonder if this was the case, and I discovered that A.J.Finn is actually a man – Daniel Mallory.

In spite of Finn/Mallory being a man, he does, however, manage to create a believable female character, Anna. The depth of the character comes from her mental state and the things she is trying to forget; from what I have since discovered, Mallory has also suffered from mental problems, and it is probably these ‘shared’ experiences that have helped him understand his creation even though she is female.

Anna lives alone, with a very independent cat, in a large house somewhere in New York. She has not left the house for twelve months and the very thought of opening the door and going outside is sufficient to bring on a panic attack. In another life she was a successful child psychologist with a husband, Ed, and a daughter, Olivia, but something dreadful must have happened, though we are not sure what. She regularly speaks with her husband and daughter – have Ed and Anna separated or is he living elsewhere for work? – and she is under the virtual care of a psychiatrist. An online help chat room allows her to connect anonymously with other people in similar circumstances, and as ‘thedoctorisin’ she offers small snippets of advice.

A.J.Finn (The Guardian)

During the day, she often sits at her window and observes the neighbours. Then, one evening, she sees something that turns her world upside down. As a mentally fragile woman who is both chain drinking and self medicating, she is, unfortunately, unable to make anyone believe her.

Finn/Mallory has created an exciting, realistic story with many twists. It is well written and the dialogue – much of it Anna conversing with herself – is neither jarring nor uncomfortable. The ending made me wonder if too much had been hidden, and/or whether it is possible for perceived innocence to turn evil without any small warning signs. Nevertheless, I felt that the book is worth reading and should keep most readers guessing.

Scene from the film based on the book (Esquire)

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