Described as ‘a metaphysical shocker’ at the time of its release, Muriel Sparks’ The Driver’s Seat is a taut psychological thriller, published with an introduction by John Lanchester in Penguin Modern Classics.
Lise has been driven to distraction by working in the same accountants’ office for sixteen years. So she leaves everything behind her, transforms herself into a laughing, garishly-dressed temptress and flies abroad on the holiday of a lifetime. But her search for adventure, sex and new experiences takes on a far darker significance as she heads on a journey of self-destruction. Infinity and eternity attend Lise’s last terrible day in an unnamed southern city, as she meets her fate. One of six novels to be nominated for a ‘Lost Man Booker Prize’, The Driver’s Seat was adapted into a 1974 film, Identikit, starring Elizabeth Taylor.
Muriel Spark (1918 – 2006) wrote poetry, stories, and biographies as well as a remarkable series of novels, including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Mandelbaum Gate (1965) which received the James Tait Black Prize, and The Public Image (1968) and Loitering with Intent (1981), both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Spark was awarded the T.S. Eliot Award for poetry in 1992, and the David Cohen Prize for literature in 1997.
If you enjoyed The Driver’s Seat, you might like Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
‘An extraordinary tour de force, a crime story turned inside out’
‘Her spiny and treacherous masterpiece’