Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
Anna Fox is a child psychologist, a borderline alcoholic and an agoraphobic. She hasn’t left her New York home in over a year and her husband and daughter are no longer living with her, although she speaks to them daily. When she isn’t drinking and mixing up her multiple medications she’s watching black and white movies…or her neighbours.
With obvious parallels to Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, Anna uses her camera to focus closely on her neighbours & make up versions of their lives as they go about their day to day business. After her new neighbours, the Russells, move in, and she has reluctantly met the family, she sees something truly terrifying through her lens. As she tries to figure out what is happening – not an easy task through the haze of booze and drugs she’s worked her way through, this messed up woman begins to unravel a mystery worthy of one of her beloved black and white films – and perhaps even more dangerous for both herself and the Russell family.
Throughout the book, I felt quite claustrophobic – but as Anna can’t leave the house – I couldn’t leave the story. There are a number of different avenues that this book takes you down, first making you think one way, then switching to another. There was one rather obvious plot point that I was surprised to find was not the big reveal I thought it was going to be, in fact there isn’t really one big reveal, more a creeping disclosure from which you paint the true picture of what really happened that night.
There’s been a lot of hype around this book, and the obligatory comparison to the likes of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. I felt this more so with the latter – with Anna being an unreliable narrator, it makes for a taut and thought provoking read – after all, if she isn’t sure what she’s been doing and what’s been happening around her – how can you be? Is she confusing her TV with her window?
I went through this book quite quickly, because it drew me in and I was intrigued to find out whether or not my suspicions were correct; unusually for me, they were not. Some of the plot twists you see coming, but I think you’re meant to – more a classic case of misdirection than an unintended reveal. I think this book will divide opinion, however, I really enjoyed it.