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Eyeless in Gaza Mass Market Paperback – 1968

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; Reprint edition (1968)
  • ASIN: B000PC61Z6
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,709,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) is the author of the classic novels Island, Eyeless in Gaza, and The Genius and the Goddess, as well as such critically acclaimed nonfiction works as The Devils of Loudun, The Doors of Perception, and The Perennial Philosophy. Born in Surrey, England, and educated at Oxford, he died in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Chosroes III on May 7, 2000
Format: Library Binding
True, its didacticism inevitably keeps it from being considered a purely novelistic masterpiece. And some transitions-- like Anthony's committment to helping Mark in the revolution-- are awkward. But amongst the non-canonical novels of the 20th Century, "Eyeless in Gaza" is one of the very finest. Huxley's bold manipulation of chronology-- the backwards-and-forwards movement through the early decades of the century-- gives the book a symphonic undertow; it seems all at once breathless and grandiose. Huxley's psychological acumen has never been sharper: Helen is one of his most persuasive and complex female characters, and Anthony's spiritual journey is convincingly elaborate. Not only does "Eyeless in Gaza" have Huxley's trademark highbrow comedy, but a genuine sense of pathos (rarely does Huxley indulge so much sincere emotion in his characters). And the author's eye is particularly cinematic here: the dog dropped from the aeroplane is one of his most surreally brilliant images. This novel is one of the most compelling attempts to give comprehensive expression to the spiritual condition of European humanity between the Wars, and easily deserves to hit a few reading lists and syllabi.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 1999
Format: Library Binding
I read this after Brave New World, his subsequent set of essays (Brave New World Revisited), and Island. I found the latter disappointing, partly due to my (mistaken) expectation that it would contain Huxley's "answer": it outlined his utopia in almost excessive detail, only to conclude that it was indeed impossible. Whilst the last of his set of essays contained a prescriptive outline, only when I'd read Eyeless in Gaza did I feel that I'd begun to understand his message properly. These four books are clearly not intended to amuse and entertain. However to anyone that wishes to understand how Huxley thought about these problems, I would recommend reading all four sequentially. The whole was, for me, more than the sum of the parts.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Nelson on May 29, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fascinating novel. Although I've only read two other Aldous Huxley novels to date ("Brave New World" with "Revisted", & "Island"), I have to say that "Eyeless in Gaza" has piqued my burgeoning interest in Huxley's other works. In many ways, it's a strange and difficult novel. It is composed of 54 disordered chapters dealing with various aspects of Anthony Beavis' life between his youth in the early 1900's through his mid-forties in the 1930's. The novel begins in medias res, and each chapter is a potential entry point providing glimpses of Anthony's life at crucial moments in the present, past, and future (depending on where you start). Time is tweaked here in much the same way as in Faulkner's, "The Sound and the Fury" where the storyline is divided amongst four people's parallel lives. Huxley's boundless structure allows Anthony Beavis' life to rise and fall on the waves of a mystical ocean of time with its contrapuntal rhythms.
One drawback to "Eyeless", and perhaps Huxley in general, is that his writing style is somewhat dry and cerebral. His characters, like D.H. Lawrence's (a friend of his), often come across as representations of ideals, or "symbols" rather than full-fledged, multi-dimensional characters, and the exterior scenery sometimes suffers. One notable exception is Helen Amberley, who is one of the more complex, and interesting characters in the novel. As for the scenery, the most vivid scenes are not the physical atmosphere, but each character's experience of an event. Examples include both Anthony and John Beavis' individual responses to Mrs. Amberley's death; Anthony and Brian playing with a toy boat on the school dormitory rooftop; or Helen flicking away a butterfly at Anthony's villa.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Damian Kelleher on October 9, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Eyeless in Gaza is both a character study and a contemplation on the important issues of life that everyone must either spend time considering, or consciously ignore in favour of the easy pleasures. The two very different main characters and forever shifting time frame allow for clashing perspectives, immature and mature reasonings on familiar problems, and the comfortable, satisfying sensation that we 'know' everyone in the story.

Anthony Beavis is a man given to solitary thought. While he does occasionally succumb to his carnal desire, he has a marked distaste for intimacy, both physical and mental. He is the character we experience the most, from boarding school encounters with bullies to young adult relationships and middle-aged jaunts off to India to fill a hole in himself that he is only just realising exists. Diaries, essays, letters and 3rd-person narratives reveal the workings of Anthony's mind, and while he can be admired for his intellect and wit, he has a cowardly, almost shallow side to him that is distasteful to say the least. Any event requiring a high level of emotional commitment or of adult responsibility, he shirks from, making vague excuses to the people in his life who matter, or simply running away, metaphorical tail between his legs.

Helen is spontaneity incarnate, allowing herself every impulse that enters her head. She likes to test people, pushing them to the limits of their opinions, desires and manners. Her husband Hugh, she especially torments, making a very public event out of what should be a clandestine sexual relationship with Andrew - and others, while Hugh sits alone in his study, writing an ode to her but virtually unable physically consummate their relationship.
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