restricted access The Chandeliers of the Metropole: A Vivid Glow Upon the Just and the Unjust in Muriel Spark's The Driver's Seat1


Arguably Muriel Spark's greatest novel, The Driver's Seat (1970) has never received its fair share of critical attention. Often dismissed as a mysterious trifle, it is just that, a mystery, but not a trifle at all. Contextualised within the canon of Spark's work, The Driver's Seat is an eschatologically-focused parable with an emphatically spiritual point. It is to be viewed sub specie aeternitatis, or under 'a vivid glow [that falls] upon the just and the unjust alike.' Seen thus, the observation of Spark's protagonist, Lise, 'It's getting late. It's getting terribly late,' resounds with the force of a Biblical injunction.