Gateway by Frederik Pohl
Winner of Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell awards.
In this book, humans have discovered an asteroid spaceport left in the solar system by some alien civilization. The spaceport has various alien spaceships programmed to various places beyond our solar system. The catch is that we don't understand where each ship is programmed to go and we don't know how to program them to go to a place of our choosing. Some humans ("prospectors") are adventurous enough to risk letting one of the ships take them wherever they may go into the unknown. Some are never seen again. Some come back with discoveries that make them rich. Some come back with nothing to show for their trouble - or with stories of horror.
The ships are left by aliens nicknamed "the Heechee", a race that seems to have mysteriously disappears millions of years ago.
Humans have not discovered FTL travel themselves and haven't figured out how these alien ships manage to go FTL. So these ships are the only game in town for interstellar travel. Life is not easy back on Earth, so some desperate or daring people pay to get to Gateway, pay for everything at Gateway (training, breathing air, etc.), then gamble on taking a ship to the stars. Some who go there never get their nerve up, others spend months before they control their fears enough to take a Heechee ship.
As the awards suggest, the story is executed in a superlative manner.
Bob Broadhead is one of those who have gambled on taking out a Heechee ship. He was one of the lucky ones who struck it rich. But then he went out on Heechee ships additional times. The book jumps back and forth between his experiences before and during his last flight, and his later sessions with a psychiatrist where he is working on what happened on his trip and what it means for him.
This is not a story about the alien technology or aliens, per se. The alien tech is the framework around which the story is built. As a result, we see interesting things about it, but not in the depth one would expect in a story about it. Gateway is the story of Broadhead and through him, it's about men like him taking risks to be prospectors. And it's about the societies in which they are - the overpopulated society on Earth and the corporate society at the Gateway asteroid. To one degree or another it's a journey into the person of Broadhead.
Gateway has a number of sequels: Beyond the Blue Event Horizon, Heechee Rendezvous and The Annals Of The Heechee.