The Woman in the Window

This is the title. I struggled with it for a long time, but in the end, this seemed best. It’s got a subtitle, but I’ll write about that later. This is like Fritz Lang’s film, I realize, and my book is about that only indirectly. Oh, I suppose it’s hard for a book not to be about male fantasies on some level or other, and reflections of oneself in commercial store windows, and dreaming about other possible lives from the one you’ve lived, and all that. Okay, maybe it’s centrally about this and I just didn’t realize it while I was writing it.

Lang’s film is based on a novel called Once Off Guard, by J. H. Wallis, an Iowa writer, I believe, Bennett'sWomanInWindowand I took a look at his book in Special Collections at the University of Iowa library some years ago. The character played by Edward G. Robinson is a psychology prof in the film, but he’s of course an English prof in the book. This, I think, makes a difference, and is akin to the transformation of Prospero’s magic from The Tempest into the collective id that destroys the civilization of the Krell in Forbidden Planet. Both are products of mid-20th century Freudianism. At least they made the Walter Pidgeon character (Dr. Morbius) a philologist.

The Woman in the Window snuck up on me as a title, after about nine years of writing or so, when I realized she was in all the books and all the films I was writing about. How could I not call the book that? She seemed to be insisting on it.

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