This is a Fictional Friday post, where I review a book (but it might not always be fiction)
First of all, allow me to apologise.
I suppose book reviews are mean to be about recently published books.
Well, as I said, I’m sorry. It’s just, I don’t have access to recently published books. Also, I don’t usually enjoy them.
Secondly, before I review The Driver’s Seat, stop and consider the act of reading for a moment.
Why do we read?
For pleasure, of course! We want to immerse ourselves in the lyrical passages of Under Milk Wood or the surprisingly gritty action in Wuthering Heights. We identify with the lost Holden Caulfield and we empathise with Gatsby. We lose ourselves in their lives and their loves and their woes and we forget about our own and-
But what about The Driver’s Seat?
I found it incredibly uncomfortable to watch Lise and her over the top signals and unpredictable actions, plan her own
And no that wasn’t a spoiler.
Spark handles her own spoilers in The Driver’s Seat. By a few pages in we know how the book will end.
So there’s another logical reason to read it out the window. We’re not on the edge of our seats, waiting to see what happens next: it’s given away at the beginning.
I’m not, for a second, doubting Spark’s motives. She makes some very good points throughout the novel.
For instance, by telling us the end of the novel at the start, and making The Driver’s Seat a drive to narrate as opposed to a drive to an end, she questions conventional ideas of plot and narrative.
She has Lise, her protagonist, speak four languages – only for us to find out that the story of her death was printed in four languages. This isn’t her story we are following, but the reconstruction made by the police and press. Ironic, considering how all Lise wanted was the ability to write her own story line, down to the colour of the neck tie used to bind her wrists.
Nor am I questioning Spark’s skill as a writer. The novel is really well written, and I can appreciate this.
Appreciate and enjoy, however, are not the same thing.
I wonder what makes us read – and reread – a novel which makes us uncomfortable, shocked and awkward.