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0677 | The Driver’s Seat | Muriel Spark

0677 | The Driver’s Seat | Muriel Spark post image

Context: Finished this on the day I finished working for Saudi Aramco and retired. Haven’t looked back since!

Strange little book this one at just over 100 pages. In this very short space of time Spark creates Lise, a very memorable character who I was never quite sure of. I spent the whole time wondering why she’s strange, what her motivations are, and whether she should be pitied or, in fact, envied.

While the central character is strong, those around Lise are only barely sketched in. The writing has a very ephemeral feel about it. Sometimes I wondered if other characters were only figments of Lise’s imagination.

The title may perhaps refer to the fact that she lives life on her own terms and isn’t bothered about how others view her. She dictates exactly what happens to her right up to her tragic finale.

But is it really a tragedy if you decide how you want your life to turn out even if others think you are out of your mind? I think this is maybe what Spark is trying to get at. However, it’s really too short to get a thesis of any strength across.

In effect, it’s a well-written short story about self-determinism. Whether that’s self-determinism gone wrong or not is up to the reader to decide it seems.

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