The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

a4ad1b28fe8e96b60999_Woman_in_the_Window.jpg
a4ad1b28fe8e96b60999_Woman_in_the_Window.jpg

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” Oops, that's not what she meant, I realized when I finished the mostly engaging novel. But, I will get back to this thought a little later in my review.

The premise of The Woman in the Window is solid. After an extremely traumatic event, Dr. Anna Fox, a psychiatrist who specializes in the mental issues of children, has been shut in her house. Anna is suffering from “Agoraphobia: In translation the fear of the marketplace, in practice the term for a range of anxiety disorders.” (p. 26) Every time Anna tries to leave her home, panic attacks overwhelm her, and she collapses from the fear of being outside the safe cocoon of familiar ground.

Sign Up for E-News

Anna spends her days doing four things; she drinks wine, starting at breakfast, she views old movies, particularly suspense thrillers like The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, and Gaslight, she treats people who are shut-ins like her on a website that she has established, using the handle thedoctorisin, and she is a voyeur, peeking out of her window, watching her neighbors, an act that calls to mind the suspenseful Hitchcock film, Rear Window, which starred Jimmy Stewart. Stewart's character has been house bound due to a broken leg, and confides what he witnesses to his gorgeous girlfriend, portrayed by Grace Kelly.

The homage to Hitchcock's masterpiece is unmistakeable as the reader gets caught in Anna's web of suspicions about the new neighbors who have moved into the renovated area of Harlem, across the park from Anna's home. Alistair and Jane Russell have joined the neighborhood with their teenage son, Ethan, whom Anna often watches at night as he sits at his computer. Anna witnesses a violent event that occurs in the Russell's home, but when she calls the police, they do not believe her due to her condition, and the fact that she is heavily self-medicating, not only with wine which she has delivered to her home by the case, but by prescription pain killers which help treat an undisclosed physical injury.

For the most part the novel really works. Aside from a relationship that Anna begins to cultivate with young Ethan across the park, and a pleasant encounter with his mother, Jane, Anna has a handsome tenant, who lives in her basement and pays rent to help Anna offset expenses. Her husband, Ed, has moved out of the house and taken their only child, Olivia, with him, much to Anna's dismay. The reason for their estrangement is not revealed for most of the book, and the question of their relationship hangs over the story like a nagging toothache.

Anna begins to experience a bit of “gas lighting” herself. Mysterious and onerous things begin to happen in her home. A picture of herself sleeping during the night is sent to her on her phone, and things disappear from her household, and then return. The police theorize that Anna has gone off the deep end and may be doing these things to herself. Anna is frustrated by the fact that no one believes her and even she begins to question her grip on reality.

A.J. Finn, whose real name is Daniel Mallory, is an Oxford graduate and former book critic and editor. His skills as a wordsmith are excellent; the book is well written and holds the reader's attention throughout. It doesn't quite hold one of the edge of her seat, but it's a good read . . . up until the ending.

So now back to what my friend meant when she said that she wished that she hadn't finished the book. The book's ending is so predictable and flat that it disappoints on every level, and for an author who spent time as a critic and editor, that is a perplexing problem. There is actually no climax to the novel, when there really could have been, and about thirty pages of denouement that were so boring that I really didn't care what happened to Anna, or any of the other characters for that matter.

The thing about the classic suspense movies is that they hold the viewer on the edge of the seat until the last nail biting moment fades into the film's credits. We identify with the character as he or she is terrorized during the story. Unfortunately, Finn failed to pack the emotional wallop that a thriller really needs.

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Union

Construction Update on Vauxhall Ave. Bridge, Chestnut St. Bridge and Morris Avenue Work

June 19, 2018

UNION, NJ – A CodeRed alert about road construction, the resulting congestion, and what can be expected, was sent to residents Tuesday morning.

The message said the work on these state roads is being performed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.  The message outlined the following work scheduled for June and July:

The Vauxhall Bridge over Route 22.  Work ...

The Week Ahead in Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 6/18

Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 10:00 a.m., Senior Center
Adult Coloring, 1:15 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Construction Zone, 3:30 p.m., Union Public Library
Read to Waldi, 4:15 p.m., Union Public Library
Connect, Explore & Discover Digital Resources, 7:00 p.m., Union Public Library

Tuesday, ...

The Week Ahead in Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 6/11

Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 10:00 a.m., Senior Center
Adult Prize Bingo, 1:15 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Construction Zone, 3:30 p.m., Union Public Library
Career Coach, 6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Donuts with Your Dude,6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library

Tuesday, 6/12

Senior Citizens ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_373282f5e1d3b5232b81_mini_magick20180620-4022-12sykna

Fri, June 22, 12:00 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, Union

Drop in Craft Friday

Carousel_image_d44bfd734599e1c3061a_njso_and_summer_arts_festival_flyer

Fri, June 22, 7:30 PM

Mountainside

Union County’s Free Summer Arts Concert Series: ...

Carousel_image_415aacf78687dcb7fab9_rock_painting

Mon, June 25, 1:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Let's Create Rock Art

Carousel_image_ec9461df1cd0015cf41f_mini_magick20180620-4048-snbre5

Mon, June 25, 3:30 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Construction Zone

Taylor Heggins Named to Spring 2018 Dean's List at American International College

June 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, MA - Taylor Heggins, of Union, has been named to the Spring 2018 Dean's List at American International College (AIC) in Springfield, MA. Dean's List students are full-time students with a grade point average between 3.3 and 4.0.Heggins is majoring in Health Science at AIC.

Founded in 1885, American International College (AIC) is a private, co-educational, doctoral granting ...

Union Residents Make Dean's List at the University of Delaware

NEWARK, DE - Students from Union have been named to the University of Delaware Dean's List for the Spring 2018 semester:

Natalie Caggiano 

Julia Hayes 

Steven Medina 

Maria Rocha 

To meet eligibility requirements for the Dean's List, a student must be enrolled full-time and earn a GPA of 3.33 or above (on a 4.0 scale) for the semester.

 

Kayla Douberley Graduates Elmira College

ELMIRA, NY - Kayla Douberley of Union was among the graduates celebrated at the 160th Elmira College Commencement on Saturday, June 2. The exercises, held at the Murray Athletic Center, Pine Valley, included 270 undergraduate and 27 graduate students.

Members of the 2018 Elmira College graduating class were recognized with multiple honors and prizes, including induction into Phi Beta Kappa, ...

Video: Union County Celebrates Pride Month with CommUNITY PRIDE Day Picnic

June 18, 2018

RAHWAY, NJ - Parents, children, friends, and all family members came out on Saturday afternoon to Rahway River Park for the Union County CommUNITY PRIDE Day Picnic.

The family-friendly celebration hosted by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, was a day of fun activities of arts and crafts, family lawn games, inflatable bounce houses, playground fun and more, along with music by the ...

Honey Bees Found in Dumpster Relocated

UNION COUNTY, NJ – The County found themselves in a sticky situation last week when a swarm of honey bees were discovered at a construction dumpster at the County Administration building.

A social media post by the County said a pair of beekeepers from the nonprofit organization Groundwork Elizabeth came to the scene on Friday, and the bees were relocated to the Elmora Public Library, as ...

Union Catholic Grad, Olympian Sydney McLaughlin Wins NCAA Title, Announces She's Going Pro

EUGENE, OREGON — College freshman phenom Sydney McLaughlin, who graduated from Union Catholic last year, won the women's 400-meter hurdles for the University of Kentucky at the NCAA Championships on Saturday at Hayward Field, and then announced after the meet that she's turning pro.

McLaughlin, a U.S. Olympian in the 400 hurdles in 2016, completed one of the ...

Boundless Talent on Display at Hannah Caldwell School

June 15, 2018

UNION, NJ –Talent was on full display last week as over 40 students participated in Hannah Caldwell School’s Talent Show, with singing, dancing, musical instrument performances, and even a comedian.

“This is a special performance because the children are in control.  All of the acts in the show were prepared outside of school by the students,” said music teacher ...

Battle Hill and Hannah Caldwell Students Celebrate Reading Accomplishments

UNION, NJ – Young readers in Hannah Caldwell and Battle Hill Elementary Schools enjoyed the fruits of their labor on Wednesday when they celebrated their accomplishments in this year's Olympic Reading Programs.

Librarian Karen Franciosa said, “I couldn't be more proud of the students who worked diligently throughout the year to accomplish their personal reading ...

Red Carpet Moment for Union High Seniors

UNION, NJ – Prom night for Union High School seniors means red carpet glamour.  

And glamour was on full display at the annual red carpet walk Thursday evening, as Union High students walked the red carpet, alone or with their date(s), to a cheering crowd. 

Sponsored by the Union Township Community Action Organization, Inc., the event showcased beautiful gowns ...

Cranford High Student Competes at U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifier

June 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS - Cranford soon-to-be senior Johnny Bush took his shot to qualify for a USGA championship on Wednesday.

Bush shot a 6-over-par 76 (38-38) to finish in a five-way tie for 21st place in a U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifier at the par 70, 6,558-yard Shackamaxon Country Club in nearby Scotch Plains.

65 golfers, including 54 from the Garden State, took a ...

Charges Pending Against Roselle Man Found with More than 40 Dogs Living in Squalor

ROSELLE, NJ - A Roselle man will be charged with multiple criminal offenses after more than 40 dogs were discovered living in severely unsanitary and inhumane living conditions in his home last week, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

According to the authorities, members of those two agencies, the ...

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

Mountainside Officials: We Knew Nothing About Allegations Until Lawsuit was Filed

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The mayor and council of Mountainside have gone on record stating they had no knowledge of the incidents alleged in the lawsuit filed on May 11 against the borough “until the filing of the lawsuit.”

The borough has also “retained former New Jersey State Police Superintendent Joseph Santiago” to help restore public trust in the department, ...

Reminder: Eligible Seniors Can Receive $25 in Free Vouchers for Farmer’s Markets, Starting June 25

June 21, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds income-eligible senior residents age 60 and over that they can apply for a total of $25 in free vouchers to purchase fresh produce. The vouchers may be used only at Farmer’s Markets in Union County that display a yellow and black WIC sign.

“Farmer’s Markets are a feature of community life throughout Union County in the ...

Union County Residents Can “Recycle Right” without Plastic Bags

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that plastic bags and other excluded items cannot be recycled through their local curbside pick-up programs.

“Union County residents have a good recycling rate compared to other counties in our state, and we want to improve on this record and set a high bar,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Every ...

Union County’s Free Summer Arts Concert Series Launches this Friday, June 22

Union County, NJ – The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra kicks off Union County’s 57th annual Summer Arts Festival series of free outdoor concerts sponsored by the Freeholder Board with an evening of Broadway favorites, beloved opera overtures and more on Friday June 22nd at 7:30 p.m. at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.

Attendees are also invited to bring a mat ...

Union Catholic's Goldera Surles has Received a Prestigious Scholarship

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Goldera Surles, one of the state's top bowlers during her career at Union Catholic, was recently awarded a very prestigious scholarship by The National Bowling Association, Inc.  

Surles, who will continue her bowling career at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y. this fall, was awarded the first place Owen O. Washington Scholarship, which was ...

Columns

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Could Monmouth Park's Haskell Invitational Be on Justify's Agenda?

June 13, 2018

ELMONT, NY — Triple Crown winner Justify came out of his stall to meet the media bright and bouncing on the morning after his gate-to-wire win in the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes.

When asked to assess his colt's win, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert reported, “We were watching replays of the race. He could have gone around again.”

The brilliantly colored ...

Letters to the Editor

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...