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Eyeless in Gaza

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,466 ratings  ·  169 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
Paperback, 528 pages
Published July 20th 2004 by Vintage (first published 1936)
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Rachel Toner I have just started this and I am also finding it difficult! I am going to try and do my best to get through it, but I keep comparing it to his other …moreI have just started this and I am also finding it difficult! I am going to try and do my best to get through it, but I keep comparing it to his other works although I shouldn't! Did you manage to get through it?(less)

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Vit Babenco
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The past and the present are psychologically and physically bound…
The snapshots had become almost as dim as memories. This young woman who had stood in a garden at the turn of the century was like a ghost at cock-crow. His mother, Anthony Beavis recognized. A year or two, perhaps only a month or two, before she died. But fashion, as he peered at the brown phantom, fashion is a topiary art.

On the whole Eyeless in Gaza is about the power of memory… You wish to forget your past errors but your memo
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
That was the chief difference between literature and life. In books, the proportion of exceptional to commonplace people is high; in reality, very low.

Practically bed ridden, incapacitated and unable to sleep I completed this chewy hulk of a novel in 24 hours. Overflowing with ideas, Eyeless asks about Action: what is one to do? Anthony, one of the novels chief characters remains preoccupied with freedom throughout his life. The narrative rotates between 5 or so timelines and flips back to each
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Ivana Books Are Magic
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Published in 1936, Eyeless in Gaza is, at times, referred to as the most personal of Huxley’s works. Whether this is true, I can’t say for sure, but supposedly the protagonist of the novel is based on the Huxley himself and that is what makes this novel ‘more personal’. But aren’t all novels personal? What I can say, having read this novel and all, is that the protagonist Anthony is quite engaging. The novel does focus on the life of the protagonist- socialite Anthony Beavis, don’t expect the ty ...more
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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 so that I
Pete daPixie
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1900-1950, reviewed
I read this as a follow-up to Huxley’s first novel, Crome Yellow, written in 1921, when he was in his mid-twenties. I found it fascinating to see how much he had developed as a novelist by 1936, when he published Eyeless in Gaza. The later novel is far richer and far more ambitious than the earlier. It does not content itself with skimming wittily across the surface of life, but attempts (successfully, in my view) to go deep.

Eyeless in Gaza is not a novel for those readers who complain when the
Bob Newman
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Finding Anthony Beavis"

Just because I'd read "Brave New World" when I was in high school didn't mean I knew Aldous Huxley's work, so I recently read EYELESS IN GAZA. Strangely enough, over four decades later, I came out with a different impression ! Though I had no idea what the title meant, I found a strong character study of an indecisive man, a flawed character whose weaknesses lead directly to the demise of his best friend. His courage continually gives out at crucial moments and he tends t
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
David Stephens
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aldous-huxley
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
Sep 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mi, summer
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
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Eyeless in Gaza has me frustrated. This is very high quality writing and some high level plotting. Evan so I am not a fan. Our central character, Anthony Beavis, is a scholar attuned to fining meaning in obscure scholarship. He is sufficiently well off that he can peruse a comfortable and self-centered life style. He and most of the people around him are more or less self-centered and un happy. There are several discontinuous time periods ranging from before WWI and some vague point past the Eur ...more
Simon Mcleish
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
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
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Ben Weeks
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I almost didn't read this, looking through unread books that I thought I might never start. It had been on my shelf for a few years, a nice old copy from 1938, thick paper making it look even longer than it was. Then I read the first page and was thankful that I had just finished my last book. The plot revolved around the life of Anthony Beavis, moving back and forth between 1904, when he was a child, attending the funeral of his mother, to the mid-1930s, watching the world on the brink of anoth ...more
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
...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
Agne Zainyte
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book will leave you broken into thousand pieces and it will be up to you to decide how do you want to "glue" yourself back. But make no mistake, you will be broken afterward.

Absolute masterpiece! I found myself lucky to read this book in my early 20's as I could relate to young Anthony so much (we happen to share the same cynical worldview as well as similar philosophies).

I could not grasp the impact of this book until I finished it. Then all I wanted is to read it again, recycle all that
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the third novel I've read by Huxley and perhaps his best out of those three (Brave New World , Island). It took me fair bit of time to read, partly because of the length, the fact I am quite a slow reader, the numerous references and the parts written in French, German and Latin. Plenty of philosophy, sociology and psychology woven into the story which I enjoyed. It runs in non chronological order which also made for a pleasant experience as I have only read one other novel that done thi ...more
Jens Personius
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book delves into and dissects both social issues and conflicts of the human psyche through engaging dialogue and monologues. Reading Eyeless in Gaza feels like peering into the genius mind of Huxley himself. This book is not one which you can easily pick up, read a few pages, then set down and come back to a couple of days later. Certainly this book is not for everyone, but if you are an active and involved reader who can enjoy a book more for its intellectual content rather than just its s ...more
Sam White
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Huxley's first real foray into the mysticism that would become the underlying theme in his later works. A real turning point in his career in which he went from popular author to cultural curator, providing piercing insight into a variety of topics. Many of predictions including "the problem of happiness" have been realized. As scary as that is, Huxely always held out hope for the individual despite the hopelessness of society. ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised that I had not heard more about this book before I read it. I struggled a bit at the start as it jumps around a lot in timeframes and there are things that are mentioned (eg. Brian's death) at the start but you don't find out what happens until the end. If you are having trouble with it I would say to persevere. ...more
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Eyeless in Gaza is in my top 10 favorite works. This designation could stem from the time in my life when I read it, or my love for the characters- but more definitely it has grown- from the way the characters have traveled with me through my journey to realization as an adult.

I found this book on clearance at a closing Borders shop when I was 19, and for the first time, seeking some type of truth in the world. I had just given up oil-painting and become an English major, and my reading history
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anthony, our intellectually gifted protagonist, has the problem of not believing in any intrinsic quality in another being, or, as he put it, in personality -- everything is a construct, and we are state machines, influenced by external factors to perform this or that action. Or inaction, if you're Anthony, preferring the role of spectator and judge: our very own Hamlet. The world forces Hamlet into action through the death of his father, and while there is a death that plants the seeds of actio ...more
Some books can be read in large chunks and some cannot. Wanting to meet a book club deadline, I read this in daily 50 page chunks. Disadvantaged also by not knowing 4 additional languages (including Latin) and philosophical schools of thought and certain artists, I may have missed some of the salient points. Add in a non-chronological time sequence and I have to conclude this is a challenge to read. The sections of the book I enjoyed most were when the characters actually did something or at lea ...more
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
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
"I've had a queer feeling that I'm not really there..."

Huxley has some things to communicate to us about pacifism and human nature and some other stuff. But by the end he does so with such vehemence it's as if you're reading a different book altogether. Or more likely I only woke up to the message closer to the end. Anyways, his embarrassing descriptive precision makes for a sumptuous read. It's terribly interesting how Brian, Anthony, and Helen all change dramatically as they grow older and yet
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story jumps around a lot chronologically so it is quite hard to establish the characters definitively, especially the peripheral ones. However, it’s also quite powerful in highlighting how huge swathes of our lives pass without much of note remaining in our memories, while other passages are remembered in pellucid, excruciating detail. In this respect it is effective. The chronological gaps between the two can be huge or very short and what is remembered ranges from the obviously significant ...more
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When we first meet Anthony Beavis in the first chapter of Aldous Huxley’s astonishing EYELESS IN GAZA, it is the 30th of August, 1933, and, as it should so happen, our nominal protagonist’s forty-second birthday. He is sharing the day and his temporary French Riviera living arrangements with Helen Ledwidge. We begin very much in medias res, for all intents and purposes. The location and the fact of the date announced at the commencement of the introductory chapter corresponding to Anthony’s birt ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Hell is the incapacity to be other than the creature one finds oneself ordinarily behaving as."

Eyeless in Gaza was first published in 1936 and said to be the most auto-biographical of all Huxley's works. The novel centres around Anthony Beavis and his group of friends spanning their lives from childhood to middle age during the first decades of the 20th century. The story is told in non-sequential chapters and from differing characters' perspective.

It is a pretty hefty tome and isn't a particul
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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

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