Books: Layers of Loneliness

A GIRL IN WINTER (248 pp.)—Philip Larkln—St. Martin's ($4.50).

When he graduated from Oxford in 1943, Poet Philip Larkin dreamed of becoming a famous novelist and living on the Riviera "like Somerset Maugham." But after two novels flopped in Britain, he decided he was better suited to poetry, confessing later: "It's like moving to a much smaller house after finding you cannot afford to keep up the mansion of your dreams." Larkin has become one of England's finest poets, but he may have deserted his mansion too soon. The second novel, A Girl in Winter, has now been published in the U.S.;...

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