The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark

driver's seat

Lise leaves her office, goes shopping where she is extraordinarily rude to a shop assistant, buys a spectacularly mismatched outfit, and then heads off to the airport.  She seems snappy and erratic for someone heading off on holiday and her behaviour does not improve when she gets on board where her interactions with two male passengers are awkward, to say the least.  So begins this novel (or novella, really).  Lise is not a likeable character and one wonders where she and the novel itself are actually going.

Everything snaps into very sharp focus on page 25 when author tells us in no uncertain terms how this story will end.  From this point on, I found it impossible to put this book down.  It is a master class in how to build tension.  There is something uneasy about the writing style which effectively underscores the state of Lise’s mental health.  I wanted to know more about Lise and what path had led her to where we meet her.  I found the story unsettling but thought-provoking and it certainly stayed with me long after I finished reading it.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

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