The Driver’s Seat, by Muriel Spark, also made into a film starring Liz Taylor.  The book is funny, strange, suspenseful story of a seemingly unbalanced young English woman who goes on a sudden trip to Rome in search of “her type” of man.  Told with use of prolepsis (sudden, and brief flash forwards) that foreshadow the books grisly end, it is much a story of a madness as a crucifixion tale,  a complex  examination of the relationship between victim and victimizer.  Spark, who wrote a number of thrillers–and regarded herself as a Catholic allegorist–did not exactly please her fans with this tale.  The movie starring Liz Taylor has been panned as one of the worst performance of her career, during a period in which she appeared in a lot of films that disappointed her audience, but her performance in this film is pretty much spot on.  True, the film doesn’t have the same suspense as the novel, and their are nuances of paradox in the heroine’s quest–and the murder’s motivation–that don’t quite come off in the film, but it’ still worth pretty good: maybe more so if you’ve read the book.  This is one of Spark’s more interesting novels, and Taylor at her flossiest, sexiest, and enigmatic best.   DS

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