Author: A.J FINN
‘Unputdownable’, that’s what Gillian Flynn, the author of the famed thriller ‘Gone Girl’, has to say. This release in the genre of thriller showcases a compelling plot- an agoraphobic woman witnessing a murder, or was she hallucinating? If you haven’t as yet read this book, get yourself a copy and engross yourself!
The story revolves around a woman named Anna, who suffers from an ailment known as ‘agoraphobia’. A little background about this condition- a fear or apprehension of open spaces. It is a mechanism of the mind via which it tries and copes with post traumatic stress.
The lead character, Anna, is suffering from agoraphobia, as a result of which she is seen whiling away her time analysing the behaviour of her neighbours. The window? It’s her only form of interaction with the outer world. She spends her time with her Nikon, peeking into the lives of others trying to find a reflection of her own.
Meticulously detailed descriptions of the somber environment that she lives in is an attempt by the author to sensitise the reader about the criticality of her ailment. Heavy medications, alcohol and memories of her family were just about it. Fine lines- Anna was alive, but barely.
As you read along the novel, you’re very subtly introduced to the various characters of the story, the first being that of Ethan Russell.
Ethan comes across as an emotionally unstable teenager who is having a hard time coping with his family. His first few interactions with Anna see him break down in front of her. In this boy Anna sees an outlet of emotion- she had lost her daughter Olivia in a car accident. Naturally, his father Alistair Russell is perceived as the antagonist, a man who is of secretive disposition. However, in the first few dialogues between Anna and Ethan, he could be labelled as a conservative father, more than anything else.
Jane Russell is a woman who isn’t as virtuous as her husband. On the contrary, she’s a woman who’s childhood is marked with drugs and alcohol. Probably she is trying to get her act together- one of the reasons why she marries Alistair? To sum up, she’s trying. However she lapses into her old self at the slightest given opportunity.
A woman of friendly disposition, her conversations with Anna radiate a sense of warmth and understanding between the two. It’s a relationship that Anna yearned for, relieving of her loneliness, even if it meant for a temporary period of time.
Characters like Dr. Fielding and Bina act as the foundation of the plot. The ‘support staff’ behind the treatment of Anna, their roles in the life of Anna, has been very selectively thought out by the author. Not only does it create a sense of cohesion, it also adds another dimension to the plot. In terms of individual characters, they come across as in-deterrent individuals, who despite Anna’s situation remain optimistic about the course of rehabilitation and the her recovery.
The plot of the story begins to unfold when Anna witnesses the murder of her neighbour Jane, or does she? Her heavy medications and her addiction to alcohol means that the odds of her hallucinating outweigh that of her actually witnessing the so called crime. A denial by the neighbours and tenant are all indicative towards Anna conjuring up the story so as to seek attention. The further input of the detectives and the various evidences that are found all lead to Anna making a hoax call. After all the harsh claims, even Anna begins to doubt herself and further starts getting pulled into the eddies of depression and loneliness. The moments of companionship with her neighbour had given her a new spark in a lack lustre life and adamant that what she witnessed was true, Anna tries to judicially use her meagre resources in pursuit of the truth. She’s convinced that Jane in her last moments pleaded to her for help during her last moments and it was up to her to salvage her friend.
The events that follow are absolutely binding, the manner in which the plot further unfolds- gruesome. The conclusion to the plot is full of hair-raising revelations and is one that skilfully sews the entire set of unfolded events into a form of fabric, now perceivable and every bit comprehensive.
If you’ve lost your habit of reading and aspire to become the voracious reader that you once were, this is one read that will help you getting at that. If you somehow curb down your initial temptations of leaving it midway and get through those first pages unscathed, rest assured you’re in for a treat of a read- gasping at every twist.
I’ve attached a link below via which you can buy the book online.