Thursday, 17 May 2012

Book Review: Jill

The story centres Kemp, a first year English Literature student at Oxford University during the Second World War. He’s a Northern lad, he hasn’t come wit much, but he was lucky enough to gain a scholarship to attend. Unfortunately, he has to share his dorm room with the other English Literature student at his college, a laddish Londoner named Charles. Shy Kemp doesn’t know how to take Charles’ drinking, gambling and smoking, but he starts seeing him as a role model, and despite Charles always using his tea-sets and copying his essays, he respects him.
But one day, Kemp lies to Charles. Just to see if he can get away with it, like a little revenge. He tells Charles he has a younger sister named Jill. He elaborates on her life, her looks, he even sends a letter to her. But then the idea becomes fixated in his head, Kemp becomes obsessed with his own creation, he wants her to have a story, have a life, so he starts writing her diary, but even that tires him out, it’s not the same, her image is fading in his own imagination. It’s only one day, when he’s wondering around a bookstore, that he sees someone. He sees Jill…
Larkin doesn’t give himself enough credit for this book. It’s straightforward but wonderfully realistic. I enjoyed the plot-line and I loved how it was written (though I was a tad biased to Kemp’s personality being as he was ever so similar to myself (:)  The only thing which let this novel down was, sadly, the ending, but when I take it into consideration, I can’t honestly think of how else it would have ended. The only impression I got was that it was, unfortunately, rushed. Besides that, the overall novel was excellently paced and not too focused on the timeline (so if one isn’t into WWII novels, this may be something you’re happy to hear, however if you’re like me, don’t worry, it’s not completely ignored, but it certainly isn’t a main feature). I would recommend it to any Larkin fans, or beginners. It has that lovely english charm you find in many English novels, so if you are fond of British literature for that reason, this is certainly a nice novel to add to your collection. ★★★★

1 comment:

  1. This sounds good, think I'll add it to my wish list :)