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The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark

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‘She wrote The Driver’s Seat in under eight weeks in 1969. Trips away from her desk in Rome were mainly for shopping… I mean, what is shopping, what is a purchase, if not a more or less intense moment of desire settled by a sudden act of volition? Which brings us to the heart of The Driver’s Seat…The novel opens in, you guessed it, a boutique, where our heroine, Lise, is getting into an argument about a dress… Spark deconstructs the murder mystery novel with The Driver’s Seat, turning everything on its head, not least the easy separation of killer and killed… It is hard to think of any novelist, in today’s environment, who would risk creating a female character who plots her own victimisation. But courage is as courage does. Spark wrote it fifty years ago and the result is a little masterpiece of fiction.’ From the Introduction by Andrew O’Hagan

This is one novel in the absolutely glorious, must-have, complete collection of all 22 novels by Muriel Spark. This series is a wonderful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark’s birth. Edited by Alan Taylor, author of Appointment In Arezzo, A Friendship with Muriel Spark, each perfectly sized and beautiful hardback book is introduced by a leading writer. Each introduction, while individually touching on thoughts and feelings, mentions the originality, the wit and humour, the cleverness of the writing. Whether an existing fan, or new to her works, this collection from one of our greatest writers, beckons, and quite simply, just asks to be read and re-read. ~

If you like Muriel Spark you might also like to read books by Shena Mackay, William Trevor and Iris Murdoch.


The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark

The Driver's Seat, Muriel Spark's tenth novel, was first published in 1970 and shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was one of six novels nominated in 2010 for the `Lost Man Booker Prize' of 1970.

Lise has had enough. She's been working in the same accountancy firm for years and so she decides to take off abroad on the holiday of a lifetime. Her quest for new experiences, sex and adventure quickly becomes a dark journey of self-destruction. Described by Muriel Spark as a `whodunnit', The Driver's Seat is a tour de force. This is one of the 22 novels written by Muriel Spark in her lifetime. All are being published by Polygon in hardback Centenary Editions between November 2017 and September 2018.


Praise for Muriel Spark;

A profoundly serious comic writer whose wit advances, never undermines or diminishes, her ideas New York Times Book Review

A wholly original presence in modern literature -- Andrew Motion

She has a receptive and wholly distinctive genius -- A N Wilson Spectator

The care with which she uses words is matched by a gloriously carefree attitude. It's all part of her sanity, her breezy authorial self-confidence; and because of this I think that reading a blast of her prose every morning is a far more restorative way to start a day than a shot of espresso Daily Telegraph

I am dazzled by The Bachelors. It is the cleverest and most elegant of all Mrs Spark's clever and elegant books -- Evelyn Waugh

My admiration for Spark's contribution to world literature knows no bounds. She was peerless, sparkling, inventive and intelligent - the creme de la creme -- Ian Rankin

Muriel Spark's novels linger in the mind as brilliant shards, decisive as a smashed glass is decisive -- John Updike New Yorker

Spark is a natural, a paradigm of that rare sort of artist from whom work of the highest quality flows as elementally as current through a circuit New Yorker

About the Author

Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark, DBE, C.Litt., was born in Edinburgh in 1918 and educated in Scotland. A poet and novelist, she also wrote children’s books, radio plays, a comedy Doctors of Philosophy, (first performed in London in 1962 and published 1963) and biographies of nineteenth-century literary figures, including Mary Shelley and Emily Brontë.

For her long career of literary achievement, which began in 1951, when she won a short-story competition in the Observer, Muriel Spark garnered international praise and many awards, which include the David Cohen Prize for Literature, the Ingersoll T.S. Eliot Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Boccaccio Prize for European Literature, the Gold Pen Award, the first Enlightenment Award and the Italia Prize for dramatic radio. She died in 2006.

Author photo © P A Archive and Press Association Images

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Book Info

Publication date

5th April 2018


Muriel Spark

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Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


128 pages


Literary Fiction
Crime / Mystery
Muriel Spark 100

Thriller / suspense
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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