The Woman in the Window wants to be Rear Window meets Girl on the Train. It’s not. That’s good.
The standard line on The Woman in the Window, the best-selling new thriller from A.J. Finn (longtime mystery editor Dan Mallory under a gender-obscuring pen name), is that it is this year’s The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl: the un-put-downable literary thriller that lives and dies by its unreliable lady narrator.
But in many ways, The Woman in the Window shares more DNA with last year’s sleeper hit tale of trauma and recovery and redemption, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman — which is to say that its central arc is less about its murder mystery than about the main character’s psychological healing. Which is a very good thing, because the mystery here is just okay.
Like Girl on the Train, The Woman in the Window is about a woman who obsessively watches a neighboring family through their windows, and who believes she has witnessed a murder but can’t be quite sure that her recollections are correct, because she’s an alcoholic and was extremely drunk at the time. Here, the woman is Anna Fox, confined to her home, who thinks she sees her new neighbor in the Harlem brownstone across the street get stabbed through the chest with a letter opener.
And like Eleanor Oliphant, Woman in the Window revolves around a woman who has experienced something mysterious and devastating who responds by socially isolating herself, self-medicating with alcohol, and having emotionally vexed phone conversations with absent family members. Anna used to be a prominent child psychiatrist, but since her mysterious trauma — which I won’t spoil here — she’s been beset by crippling agoraphobia. Now she Read More Here