Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a world gone by
Although written when he was only 21, this book is a good precursor to the poetry that Larkin is famous for. Beautifully written, sharp, crisp,strangely evocative of a far bygone era. John Kemp, from a middle-class background, is a new student in the world of Oxford where he meets people different and more well off than himself. Struggling to fit in, he invents a...
Published on 6 July 2006 by Ms. J. Pariat

versus
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Novel by Larkin is interesting, worth reading
This is one of the two novels written by British poet Philip Larkin (1922-1985). Originally written in 1946, it tells the story of Kemp, a working class boy from the north of England arriving to study in Oxford during World War II. Socially awkward, his roommate is an upper classmen who disdains Kemp but allows him to be around him as a hanger on, as a human pet he can...
Published on 22 Nov 2008 by Andres C. Salama


Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a world gone by, 6 July 2006
By 
Ms. J. Pariat (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jill (Paperback)
Although written when he was only 21, this book is a good precursor to the poetry that Larkin is famous for. Beautifully written, sharp, crisp,strangely evocative of a far bygone era. John Kemp, from a middle-class background, is a new student in the world of Oxford where he meets people different and more well off than himself. Struggling to fit in, he invents a school-girl sister named Jill...who becomes more than a figment of his imagination when he encounters Gillian. Lovely read. Highly recommended
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected gem, 31 Dec 2011
This review is from: Jill (Paperback)
I remember Philip Larkin as a looming figure, in a literal sense - he was tall, stalking the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull. I was, of course, aware of his poetry but unaware that he had written novels. Discovering 'Jill' was therefore an unexpected pleasure. Larkin, in the foreword to the 1963 reprint of Jill, stated that the novel was in effect an extended short story. Whilst not as rounded a work as some, I think Larkin understated its credentials as a novel. Where Larkin excels is in painting the mood and environs of wartime Oxford and Oxford University in particular. The reader becomes immersed in the physicality of the setting through Larkin's gift for minute observation and description - he distils the essence of the moment. His descriptions of weather are particularly lyrical. His evocation of the awkwardness and apprehension of the youngster from a working class non-university family who finds himself in an alien environment where everyone else seems so very confident in themselves, will evoke sympathetic memories in anyone who experienced the same.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story, 4 May 2013
By 
R. Strode "Rosie Strode" (near London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jill (Paperback)
I really loved this cleverly-observed, moving novel. I've admired Larkin's poetry for a long time but this is the first prose of his that I have read, and I will certainly be looking out for more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whatever your feelings on Larkin, 8 July 2012
This review is from: Jill (Paperback)
People generally review this book by looking at Larkin's poetry first, and then this sort of literary 'stub' afterwards - so it makes sense to them that this was some form of rehearsal for all the beautiful poetry he wrote later on.

In his own correspondence he says "I persuade words into being poetry & don't bully them" and that's probably the best way to describe this novel apart from telling people what it is about (Oxford, wartime, male friendship and bonding, ego inflation, infatuation and...I won't spoil the ending). He forced beautiful words into a novel but didn't quite finish it off and if my memory serves me correctly, he wasn't enthused about having it published once it was finished as he wasn't particularly proud of it. So alas, it fizzles out towards the end but it's a very lovely read if you don't expect books that go out with a bang. This one goes out with the proverbial whimper. Personally I found too much of a nice thing hard to read at times, particularly as the character's imagination weaved more and more imaginary tales.

Once you're done and have read some of his poetry too, do visit Christopher Hitchen's controversial essay on Larkin for a glimpse of the man himself if you haven't yet done so and see if it changes how you feel about this book. It might. The essay ("Philip Larkin, the Impossible Man") is included in 'Arguably'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars One of his few novels, 8 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jill (Kindle Edition)
I read this for book group and it was lovely to go back to the author now I am older and possibly wiser. The story is written with eloquence and lots of themes to discuss. Heavily immersed into contemporary fiction going back to older works like this one if quite refreshing. Larkin was good at story telling as well as writing poems.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual gem, 26 Oct 2013
By 
Hilz (Herefordshire) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jill (Kindle Edition)
I had been unaware until recently that Larkin had written any novels and was prompted by curiosity to read this, his first. It is beautifully written and includes descriptions of the minutiae of everyday life that evoke the atmosphere of Oxford in the 1940s. I was interested to find that he writes in such detail about women and girls, especially as he wrote this novel at a young age. I felt that the book tailed off at the end and left questions hanging - what did John Kemp's parents think of him at that stage and what did he do next?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars What a pleasant read, 23 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jill (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded this book as the play will be on radio 4 on Easter Sunday afternoon. A most enjoyable read and an insight into the class system in the late '30's.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure poetry, 19 Mar 2001
This review is from: Jill (Paperback)
This semi-autobiographical novel of a young, northen man coming up to Oxford displays how easily Philip Larkin, already recognised as a poetic genius, can turn his hand to prose. This beautifuly written book shares with the reader what it was like for a lower-middle class scholar to be immersed in wartime Oxford, with the college bounder as a roommate. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Novel by Larkin is interesting, worth reading, 22 Nov 2008
By 
Andres C. Salama (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jill (Paperback)
This is one of the two novels written by British poet Philip Larkin (1922-1985). Originally written in 1946, it tells the story of Kemp, a working class boy from the north of England arriving to study in Oxford during World War II. Socially awkward, his roommate is an upper classmen who disdains Kemp but allows him to be around him as a hanger on, as a human pet he can mock along with his friends. Though Larkin has said this was not an autobiography, it shares with many of them written by authors the story of a youth with few friends, desiring women from afar but realizing they remain completely out of reach to them. Despite taking place during the War, the conflagration appears fleetingly in the book, when Kemp has to visit his fictional hometown of Huddlesford to see if his family has survived an aerial bombing of the city. The title refers to Jill, a cousin of one of the upper classmen. Kemp has a crush on Jill, but naturally finds himself barely able to talk to her. In general, the book starts fairly well, but it sorts of bogs down towards the middle. Since few things happen to Kemp, most of the story is told in introspective style, as the sensitive protagonist tells how he felt at a number of mundane things that happened to him - this is fine, but it can also end up being tiresome.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa83eb9f0)

This product

Jill (Faber Library)
Jill (Faber Library) by Philip Larkin (Hardcover - 12 Aug 1996)
Used & New from: 0.07
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews