This debut novel describes the emotional journey of an unnamed man through the use of fables.
Readers are introduced to this man during a time of crisis, although the specifics of his turmoil
(and indeed all the specifics of his life) remain hidden. As this everyman struggles with the
unknown, a mystical guide in the form of a woman in the tower provides him with life choices
disguised as fairy tales. The woman provides the man with no solid answers, but offers him new
stories to tell himself.
In the narrative surrounding the fairy tales, readers are provided a few details of the man’s
situation. Somewhere off the coast of Central California, the man sees a tower in the distance
that draws him; once inside, he sees a manuscript, meets an enigmatic woman, and talks to a magical
man. Outside the tower, he also talks to other strangers: a young boy, a waitress, a restaurant
owner, and a real estate agent. Everywhere he journeys and everyone he meets, however, have
one thing in common: Everybody has a story to share. How much of these activities are real or
imagined depends upon the reader’s interpretation.
The fables within the story also have different interpretations. Williams claims, in an
Author’s Note, that he tested the fables on his youngest daughter before including them in the
book. Taken at face value, these stories within the story may entertain readers of all levels.
Taken at a deeper level, these fables explore essential concepts of Jungian psychology, such as
the power of dreams, the collective unconscious, universal symbols, and life stages.
Woman in the Tower probably will not appeal to fiction readers who enjoy a concise,
linear story with a beginning, middle, and ending. For readers in the midst of their own
personal crises, however, this collection of symbolic fables contained within a loosely structured
narrative may be just what the therapist ordered.