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Eyeless in Gaza

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,372 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Written at the height of his powers immediately after Brave New World, Aldous Huxley's highly acclaimed Eyeless in Gaza is his most personal novel. Huxley's bold, nontraditional narrative tells the loosely autobiographical story of Anthony Beavis, a cynical libertine Oxford graduate who comes of age in the vacuum left by World War I. Unfulfilled by his life, loves, and adv ...more
409 pages
Published January 10th 1994 by Flamingo (first published 1936)
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Pete daPixie
It was Samson who fought the Philistines, whose 'nazirite' locks were lost due to female duplicity and resulting in his enslavement and his condition of being 'eyeless in Gaza'.
Along with Hesse, Huxley was required reading back in my teenage years, after all, there he was on the cover of Sgt Pepper. Having read 'The Doors of Perception-Heaven and Hell', 'Brave New World' and 'Island' all those years ago, it has been a joy to return to this masters writing and still find it exquisite.
'Eyeless in
...more
Lavinia
Roman de idei, foarte concentrat dpdv intelectual, nu foarte lejer pentru neuronii mei. Nu e greu, dar nu e totusi o lectura de vacanta, ca sa zic asa. Motiv pentru care am luat si retetele Babettei pe linga, ca suport :)
Ma bucur ca nu i-am dat pace si m-am tot caznit cu el, putin cite putin. Ceea ce a fost foarte bine, pentru ca finalul, sa zicem ultimele 150 de pagini, dupa ce m-am prins eu cum sta toata treaba, a fost excelent.

Pe linga faptul ca e asa mai intelectuala de felul ei, cartea e sc
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Mj
I read Eyeless in Gaza when I was 18 and again in my 20's. In my opinion this is Huxley's best novel. Early on Huxley's main character, who is no doubt based on himself, states:

"Like all other human beings, I know what I ought to do, but continue to do what I know I oughtn't to do"

And that sums up his quest for transformation. The novel simultaneously weaves together 3 separate story timelines showing how his childhood shapes the mistakes of his adolescents and the cushion his sardonic personali
...more
Ben Weeks
I was very surprised by Eyeless in Gaza. From the books that Huxley is well know for, I was expecting a dystopian commentary involving various chemical mind-states. What I got was a deep inquiry into the nature of man through the telling of various social circumstances of a fictional British bourgeois circle in the early 1900s. His criticisms of the idle rich are quite endearing, and seem to warn of the sort of dystopic future that he paints in his other novels. Huxley treads the line of being m ...more
Anita
Eyeless in Gaza was one of the most profound books I've ever read. After reading it I immediately wanted to read it again. I wanted to sleep with the book under my pillow...but it was a book I checked out of the library, so naturally I was concerned with it being a health risk so close to my face.
David Stephens
There is a Latin phrase used early in Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza that reads, “Video meliora, proboque, deteriora sequor,” which, near as I can tell, means, “I see better things, and approve, but I follow worse.” This saying does a good job tying together the events in the novel. Many of the characters know how they should behave, and yet, they do just the opposite. They act foolishly or callously when it is more convenient, amusing, or less painful—both for themselves and the others in thei ...more
Sara
on speech-giving:
"It's easy enough, once you've made up your mind that it doesn't matter if you make a fool of yourself. But it's depressing. There's a sense in which 500 people in a hall aren't concrete. One's talking to a collective non, an abstraction, not to a set of individuals. Only those already partially or completely convinced of what you're saying even want to understand you."

on marriage:
only boring people stay married.

Empirical facts:
1. We are all capable of love.
2. We impose limitati
...more
Janice
I'm reading and re-reading Huxley, a writer whom I admire. This book is a look at the first third of the twentieth century through the eyes of one of its leading intellectuals. The title is, of course, from Milton.
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in August 2000.

The title of this novel refers to the Biblical story of Samson. Having told Delilah the secret of his strength - that it depended on his hair remaining uncut - Samson was betrayed to his enemies the Philistines, and taken with a shorn head to be a slave in their city of Gaza. Blinded to make him harmless, he was forgotten until brought before the crowd on a feast day. By then his hair had regrown, and even blind he was able to pull down the tem
...more
James
A difficult read which attempts to examine the whole of human behavior with an ever-present underlying theme: The only outcome of violence is more violence and even though love often causes confusion, disorientation, heart-break, and endless guilt, it is the only possible way to move forward.

For those thinking they might want to dive in to this, I'd highly recommend noting the dates of each chapter. The non-linear presentation was very confusing before I started actively paying attention to wha
...more
Mira
Ok book. Good description of what I like to call the hot wanker. A woman who has previously been or is married and who all of a sudden discovers her capability to stuff other people over, but has an indignant and ironic set of morals at the same time (probably instilled by some authoritarian father). Horrible character that rage doesnt even suffer. That's why the word wanker is suitable!
And his character likes the pain and defeat of it all that he keeps associating with her...so weird I really d
...more
Andreea
...although the last chapter seems somehow from another book (something like "I do not truly believe this, but this is where the writing brought me")... It is about how people change, how they turn to be totally and unexpectedly different from what they considered their true nature... It is very intelligently built, bringing past events in the present, there are no corny characters, archetypes are absent (I wouldn't think of the doctor as archetype, as long as one may trace down his evolution), ...more
Denis Berman
I do not know where to start with this book. I am furious and disappointed. It is in broken chronological order and has continuous character switching. It is at times really hard to follow the story when there is so much character dancing going on. When I finished this book, I wanted to rip it and put it in a more relevant order.The good parts of this book is when Huxley goes on his famous writing trance. Otherwise, this book is a bore! At some points, I found it very depressing and unsurprising ...more
Lango142
This is the first Aldous Huxley I have read and it certainly was one to make you think. Whilst this is semi autobiographical the themes running through have appeared in a few books I've read in recent years, from Somerset Maughans Razors Edge to Durrells Justine and Balthazar. Having grown up and lived in a relatively safe time period that has coincided with a declining religious feeling in the UK it's always interesting to read about inner turmoil felt by some at this period whether it be under ...more
Cedric
Years after I read it, the final chapter of Eyeless in Gaza stays with me as deeply nourishing spiritual grist: such elegant expression of ancient wisdom. I truly was floored by it at the time and have ever since felt enlightened because of it. How that results from the initial chapters' focus on all those louche "Bright Young People" is a special kind of literary feat.

Don't read this because you loved the dystopia of Brave New World - they're very different sorts of tales. Read it because you l
...more
Craig
Ovid's quote brings it somewhat into focus, just in time for Huxley to smudge a blurry line across the vista. Vista which may have allowed for better interpretation, but only followed worse. Not worse for those experiencing this work, but maybe for that genius which gives.

During a performance at the Lincoln Center, Jason Isbell related his early songwriting influences and the familial origins of most of those songs. Such origins which brought upon him some degree of rancor stemming from the int
...more
Ant

It's a shame that Huxley is almost solely noted for his rather simplistic Brave New World, when the brilliance of half forgotten works like Point Counter Point & Eyeless in Gaza are covered by their years as though stone locked into the times they were written, away from todays readers. Both employ brilliant structures to tie in various storylines, albeit in entirely different ways, but Eyeless in Gaza was probably one of the most personal & introspective novels of his to date. So much s
...more
Charley
Very enjoyable to read, but when I finished I was temped to rip out each chapter and arrange them in chronological order. Written in epistolary and non-sequential style, this novel can be as confusing at times as Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying." It appears that most of Huxley's books are written in futuristic settings and qualify as science fiction, but this book was a more autobiographical look at Huxley's life and times, which I always find interesting. I'd recommend reading this book and also "A ...more
Persephone Abbott
Huxley was born in Great Britain in 1894 in an era that saw extreme changes in the quality of European life. Still as an adult he chose to move to America and live in what some may have called the “land of inventions or modernity”. All in all there was at this period in history a globally recognized and distinct train of thought for the betterment of the world through modern technology and this was, yes, well advertised. And at the same time of radical change in people’s lives, comes the worry t ...more
Ivana
Much like the Point Counter Point, Eyeless in Gaza manages to be at the same time a novel of ideas and have developed characters and a story. A narrative that is fragmented but still makes sense. Ideas that suffer from some repetition but don't lose their charm and freshness.

Personally, the almost absurd interruptions in the narrative didn't bothered me. Although, at times it did seem like during the writing, all the pages got somehow mixed and the author didn't care to put them in order. It is
...more
Wayne
"Oh do shut up, mummy!" Helen was blushing with a mixture of pleasure and annoyance. "Please!" It was certainly nice to be the heroine of the story that everybody was listening to -but then the heroine was also a bit of an ass. She felt angry with her mother for exploiting the assishness.

This paragraph is not exemplary of Aldous Huxley's text, but it left a lasting impression. That probably speaks more to my tastes than any real comment on the book. Had I ever seen the word "assishness" in all m
...more
Christopher Rex
Aldous Huxley was way ahead of his time. Either that or his messages are simply enduring and applicable to almost any period in history - at least in much of the 20th (and early 21st) Century. It's impressive to see such a talented artist at the height of his literary powers, much of which is evident in "Gaza."

The story surrounds several characters across an approximately 25 year time-frame in the early-to-mid 20thC. Most are libertine intellectuals trying to find purpose in their lives, their s
...more
Katerina Koblentsky
Other reviewers on this site have wondered why Huxley chose to break the chronological continuity of this novel. I felt it was an important device, firstly because one of the key events would have come half way though the novel, rather than close to the end. It also allowed us to appreciate more fully how the events in the protagonist's early life influenced his future. The time-weaving narrative also increases the reader's awareness of the contrast between the social idealism of his characters ...more
Michael
Another insightful (and quite personal) novel from Aldous Huxley, "Eyeless in Gaza", one would guess, has to be at least partly autobiographical. The lead character, Anthony Beavis, seems to share much in common with the author, from dealing with the death of his mother at an early age and the life experiences that led him to the personal philosophies for which he is most popularly known.

The novel is not presented in chronological order and, therefore, comes of as a bit disjointed as it dances a
...more
Brett
Yet another good but not quite great novel from Huxley, who never seems to write a bad book (that I've read, anyway) but who also never quite achieves the emotional heft necessary to turn a good novel into an unforgetable one.

Eyeless in Gaza is often classified, as so many of Huxley's novels are, as a "novel of ideas." Though this book is certainly rich with ideas, it's a disservice to Huxley to suggest that there isn't also a vital human drama playing out as well with characters that are pretty
...more
Stephen Demone
I was lucky enough to read what many believe is Aldous Huxley's seminal work while travelling in the UK. It was my first time in London, and being in the same setting where most of the book takes place enhanced my reading experience. What an excellent set of insights of a modern time, an increasingly more "modern" period during which the book is set, and to have read it almost 100 years later puts into perspective how little has actually changed in society. Although we have advanced in technolog ...more
Rob Carr
Not a book for someone who doesn't like philosophy but if you do well worth reading. I found this book interesting and well written although at points a little bizarre. I was not expecting the dog scene. It seems that Huxley projected a lot more of himself and his own beliefs and ideals into this book.
Adam Tramposh
Central Passage: "'You can't be intelligent about human beings unless you're first sentimental about them...In the sense of caring for them. If you don't care for them, you can't possibly understand them; all your acuteness will just be another form of stupidity."

As always, I'm naturally inclined to relate w/ Huxley's cerebral, emotionally deficient protagonists. Requires more patience for an essentially similar premise as Time Must Have a Stop for instance, but exercises greater leisure to expo
...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2216200.html[return][return]Eyeless in Gaza combines some fairly brutal commentary about lefties in British politics in the late 1930s, but tells the story in a narrative which is sliced up between decades, several different strands interlacing. There are some particularly grim scenes, involving a dog, an amputation, and a suicide, which are a striking contrast with the theoretical philosophising of the main character. I thought this had some of Huxley's better wome ...more
Ismael Galvan
You know, I'm a big Huxley fan and I've read most of his novels. When I picked this book I had high hopes. I believe I had just finished reading his book "Island." Anyways long story short, this book sucked. I really, really tried. Turning pages was like pulling nails. Huxley, what the hell happened man!

I see quite a few people gave it 5 stars and I'm not going to argue with them. Perhaps you'll think it rocks too. But the way this book jumps around with very little reason and the talking just y
...more
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Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through his novels and es ...more
More about Aldous Huxley...
Brave New World Brave New World / Brave New World Revisited The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell Island Brave New World Revisited

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“Chastity—the most unnatural of all the sexual perversions, he added parenthetically, out of Remy de Gourmont.” 311 likes
“Hell is the incapacity to be other than the creature one finds oneself ordinarily behaving as.” 15 likes
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