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The Driver's Seat signed by Muriel Spark first edition 1970

The Driver's Seat signed by Muriel Spark first edition 1970


London: Macmillan and Co Ltd., 1970


8vo., green publisher’s cloth ruled and lettered in silver to spine; in the original unclipped pictorial dust jacket (£1.50 (30s) net; with a cover designed by Bob Lawrie; pp. [viii], 9-160; a near-fine copy, the cloth a little rubbed to edges, in places, pages perhaps a trifle toned, some pencil markings erased from front paste-down; printing error causing a slight smudge line to the ink of the final page; in like jacket which is a touch toned with some very light shelf marking.   


First edition, signed by the author above her crossed-out name to title. In 2010, the book was nominated for the Lost Man Booker prize, which was created to honour works published in 1970 which were not eligible for the prize due to a rules alteration. 


Proclaimed by the author as her favourite, The Driver’s Seat is the story of Lise, a disturbed office worker who leaves her accountancy job in Northern Europe and flies South to find “what? The passionate adventure, the obsessional experience. Sex?”. Spark described the work as a ‘whydunnit’, and it was branded a ‘metaphorical shocker’ by the publishers, part psychological thriller, part “Gothic horror tale, written without the trappings of religiosity but from the standpoint of absolute faith” (Dust jacket). 


In 1974 the novel was adapted into film starring Elizabeth Taylor and featuring Andy Warhol in a role as an English Aristocrat. It was re-named Identikit in the USA, and was both shocking and controversial in its depiction of the central character. The film premiered in Cannes to stunned silence, and features such lines as “When I diet, I diet and when I orgasm, I orgasm! I don’t believe in mixing the two cultures!”. As one reviewer puts it, “The Driver’s Seat can’t be taken seriously, yet it can’t be laughed at in casual derision either. One simply stares at it in stunned disbelief—the purest state of the cinematic what-the-hell?”

Incredibly rare signed.

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