My mother is a reader but unfortunately it is rare for us to share a book that we both enjoy. Occasionally though, we hit upon one that pleases us both. She tends to think that the books that I read are “weird” so she didn’t hesitate to recommend this one to me. After reading loads of similar sounding books and suffering from Gone Girl burnout, I was wary.
I have a love/hate thing with books that I KNOW have some kind of twist and/or unreliable narrators that are trying solve some kind of mystery. The thrill of reading between the lines to get at the REAL story or figure out the culprit is exciting but sometimes overshadows just experiencing the book. I bring it on myself, to be sure, but waving the cobwebs of deceit out of the way and eye-rolling the obvious because it is, well, obvious, is too enticing sometimes. It can also get a little exhausting.
Loads of Cannonballers have already reviewed this book. I’m not going to spoil the plot by spilling the beans here, but suffice it to say that some of the shenanigans in this book were surprising to me in a non-anger inducing way. I loved that about it.
In a very Rear Window situation, a former child psychiatrist, Anna Fox, has been traumatized both physically and mentally by some sort of unnamed occurrence and is now tethered to her Harlem brownstone. Crippled with agoraphobia, she self medicates, plays online chess, assists other agoraphobics in online chat rooms, and watches endless old movies. With all of this activity, she still finds time to spy on her neighbors through her windows via a camera lens. Of course, she sees something terrible that she is unable to stop. She is also unable to get anyone to believe that it happened. In a foggy haze of Merlot, pills, she said and they said, the story winds and unwinds around Dr. Fox, her neighbors, and the local police.
This could easily be just another in a long string of unreliable, traumatized and often inebriated female protagonists, but somehow it’s not. Finn’s Anna Fox is whip smart and appears wise beyond her 30-something years. She is very articulate about, and often painfully self aware of, her downward spiral. Instead of relying fully on deceit here, Finn has created a flawed but genuine person going through something unspeakable.
Even though I did spend a lot of time trying to super sleuth the shenanigans in the book, most of it was spent joyously deep diving into the story. It’s a page turner!