by A. J. Finn
I had read rave reviews of this book. Being someone who loves a good mystery, I had to read it. I was honestly quite excited when I started this book, and it has lived up to all my expectations.
The story intrigues you right from the start. I read the first chapter twice to completely grasp what’s happening. Dr. Anna Fox, a child psychologist, likes to keep tabs on her neighbors. Creepy right! She watches them through her Nikon camera, follows their activities on social media, but never really steps out of the house and interacts with them.
In the kitchen of 207 I can see the father, big and broad, backlit by television screen. I press the camera to my eye and zoom in: the Today show. I might head down and switch on my own TV, I muse, watch alongside my neighbor. Or I might view it right here, on his set, through the lens.
I decide to do that.
Apart from this, she spends her time playing online chess, guiding her patients online, learning french, drinking bottles of Merlot, taking quite an extensive medication, and watching classic thriller movies. Yep, you are introduced to her life, and you wonder really why it is so strange?
She has agoraphobia. A condition where you are afraid to go out into the world. So, Anna, after separating from her husband and daughter started suffering from this and has been holed up in her four-storey Harlem house alone (except for her pet cat, Punch) for ten months.
Then comes her new neighbors, the Russell’s, and Anna starts documenting their life through her camera. But, this time she gets a little too involved, and things get very murky. She is a lone witness to a scene, and proving what she saw becomes much more difficult than she ever imagined.
Confused because of her lifestyle, burdened by her past, and the disbelief everyone exudes towards her story wavers Anna’s faith in herself. She goes back and forth about what she saw, unable to decide what is real.
It crashes around me like a wave. Slams my shores, cleanses them; leaves behind only streaks of silt, pointing like fingers toward the sea.
I was wrong.
More than that; I was deluded.
More than that: I was responsible. Am responsible.
If I dream things when I’m awake, I’m going out of my mind…
It’s very simply written. Like reading someone’s journal entries, where the person jots down all his/her daily activities. Sometimes the day seems clear and sometimes it’s blurry. So as you peruse through Anna’s daily activities there is a sudden change in the tone of the book, which sneaks up on you and startles you.
The plot has a couple of twists, some unexpected some not so much. But the way it unfolds, and the whole atmosphere makes the read quite thrilling.
P.S. There is a movie coming out on this book, starring Amy Adams. Quite excited for the same!