The Loss of Innocence
I had been reading Philip Larkin’s poetry for years before, quite recently, I decided to have a look at his novels. I knew he had written a couple in his early years: Jill (1946) and A Girl in Winter (1947). I knew too that, in their Oxford days and for some while after, Larkin saw himself as primarily a novelist, while his friend Kingsley Amis regarded himself as primarily a poet (how wrong they both were). What I did not know was that, of Larkin’s novels, the second, A Girl in Winter , far from being an early misfire, is, well, a bit of a masterpiece.