The Driver's Seat (novel)
First UK edition
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
The Driver's Seat is a novella by Muriel Spark. Published in 1970, it was advertised as "a metaphysical shocker". It is indeed in the psychological thriller genre, dealing with themes of alienation, isolation and loss of spiritual values.
The Driver's Seat was, on 26 March 2010, one of six novels to be nominated for “Lost Man Booker Prize” of 1970, "a contest delayed by 40 years because a reshuffling of the fledgeling competition’s rules that year disqualified nearly a year’s worth of high-quality fiction from consideration."
Lise is a spinster, working in an accountancy firm somewhere in Northern Europe, probably Denmark (the location is not explicitly specified). Spark described The Driver's Seat as a 'whydunnit' (and she uses the term in the novel). This is because in the novel's third chapter it is revealed that Lise will be murdered. Hence Spark's novel is an examination, not of what events take place but why they do so.
It is eventually revealed that Lise has suffered years of illness; she behaves erratically and often confrontationally, and wears garish, clashing, provocative clothing. Lise travels to a South European city, apparently Naples, ostensibly to meet her illusory boyfriend.