The Driver’s Seat

Well, this was a weird one. Murial Spark’s novella came recommended by my recent read of icon. Pub’d in 1970, it’s a tale of a woman (on the verge of a nervous breakdown?), Lise, who leaves her job at an accountant’s office after sixteen years, and buys the gaudiest outfit (yellow, orange, mauve, blue, red, white) that attracts ridiculous comments, then heads out of the country. She’s looking for her boyfriend, she’s hunting him, she finds one in the airport and sits beside him on the plane then he dashes away, leaving her with Bill. She’s landed in a southerly country, checked into a hotel, and wanders about waiting to run into “him” whoever he is. A shared taxi takes her shopping with an older woman. There’s a student demonstration, tear gas, an escape and cowering in a garage. The garage manager volunteers to take her home and shenanigans her on the way, whereupon she runs away, he follows, she steals his car. Eventually she runs into the guy on the plane (not Bill) again, and convinces him to go for a ride. He kills her, but she was the one who led him into the trap. This is a book that only a mother could love, bleak, strange plot, nothing redeeming. Suicide by stranger.