The Driver's Seat (novel)

The Driver's Seat is a novella by Muriel Spark. Published in 1970, it was advertised as "a metaphysical shocker". It is in the psychological thriller genre, dealing with themes of alienation, isolation and loss of spiritual values.

The Driver's Seat
First UK edition
AuthorMuriel Spark
CountryUnited Kingdom
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

It was made into a film in 1974 starring Elizabeth Taylor and featuring Andy Warhol. In the U.S the film was renamed Identikit. Spark described it as one of her favourite novels.

The Driver's Seat was, on 26 March 2010, one of six novels to be nominated for “Lost Man Booker Prize” of 1970, "a contest delayed by 40 years because a reshuffling of the fledgeling competition’s rules that year disqualified nearly a year’s worth of high-quality fiction from consideration."[1]

In 2015, it was adapted for the stage by Laurie Sansom for a National Theatre of Scotland production, which premiered at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.[2]

Plot summaryEdit

Lise works in an accountancy firm somewhere in Northern Europe, probably Denmark (the location is not explicitly specified). Spark described The Driver's Seat as a 'whydunnit' (and she uses the term in the novel). This is because in the novel's third chapter it is revealed that Lise will be murdered. Hence Spark's novel is an examination, not of what events take place, but why they do.

It is eventually revealed that Lise has suffered years of illness; she behaves erratically and often confrontationally, and wears garish clothing. Lise travels to a South European city, probably Rome, ostensibly to meet her illusory boyfriend.


  1. ^ Hoyle, Ben (26 March 2010). "Author waits to hear if she has won 'lost Booker' prize 40 years on". The Times Online. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011.
  2. ^ McMillan, Joyce (20 June 2015). "Theatre review: The Driver's Seat, Royal Lyceum". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing Ltd. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.

External linksEdit