Ay Ay Cap’n: Eyeless in Gaza

23 12 2007

Eyeless in Gaza by Aldous Huxley

Eyeless

Primarily concerned with Anthony Beavis and his upper middle class circle of friends in the first third of the 20th Century. Beavis is a pretty unsympathetic character whose intelligence doesn’t substitute for his general cowardice. His father (mother dies young) is exceptionally dull and has no real clue how to deal with his son.

Friendship with the decent Brian st school nevertheless sees Anthony side with the bullies except during holidays. Anthony’s selfishness and cowardice ultimately leads to Brian’s suicide. Following this outstanding success, Anthony’s relationships with Mary and then her daughter Helen demonstrate further his cynicism. Later on, almost as a dare, he engages in a daft revolutionary escapade in Mexico, discovering a new pacifist inside himself, perhaps somewhat unconvincingly.

Does capture well a certain aspect of the early 20th Century it seems to me with just a hint of the subsequent horrors to come in Europe in the 30s. The philosophical discussions which emerge through Beavis seem a little forced at times but the shifting time frames make this a genuinely modern novel. There is much to recommend it but it is really difficult to feel any sympathy for any of the characters except the honorable Brian.

3 star

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