I’ve read several of Muriel Sparks’ novels but never anything like this one. It’s called a “psychological thriller” but imo, it’s really just plain weird. That said, I understand that it takes more than one reading to get to different levels so … I might. It’s nicely written and I enjoy what I’ve read of Spark’s prior books, the protagonist is interesting – etc. And it was nominated for that “Lost Booker” prize of 1970 (awarded in 2010).
The Driver’s Seat
by Muriel Spark
1970 / 101 pages
rating – 8
Lise is a woman in early middle age who one day walks out of her office, buys some very bright and odd clothes and takes a trip to Italy. On the flight she acts odd, apparently trying to pick up men.
In Italy she pairs up with a little old lady and they go shopping for awhile. Lise is looking for someone – a man she calls her date.
By the beginning of Chapter 3 (page 25) we know Lise is going to be found the next day, dead in a park, murdered. There is some very deft foreshadowing which pops up a few times in the narrative – to the point the story is almost occurring in two time frames – one follows her on the day she’s murdered, the other briefly accounts for the resulting action on the day her body is found.
Knowing that but not knowing who or why the reader follows Lise’s as she wanders the city meeting people and getting in little scrapes. A number of possibilities present themselves and our protagonist-victim seems to be setting something up –