‘The Driver’s Seat’ by Muriel Spark

I had the misfortune of reading this book already knowing its ending. I came across a discussion of it a few years ago while I was researching my PhD, and it sounded so strange and discomfiting that it has always lingered in the back of my mind. I’m really pleased that I’ve finally had the chance to read it.

The Driver’s Seat is a short novella, coming in at just over a hundred pages, but the volume’s physical lightness has no bearing on the weight of its impact; this is powerful stuff. For me, reading it late at night and in one sitting, the text possessed a dreamlike quality, increased by Spark’s hypnotic, repetitive prose, and by the fact that the name of the city in which events described take place is never revealed. I enjoyed it immensely, but am certain my enjoyment would have been even greater had I not known the ending going in, so I will say no more here. I will only add that I am left with a number of questions unanswered, and suspect that this unusual crime novel will continue to linger in my mind for some time to come.

Muriel Spark

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