Eyeless in Gaza is the story of Anthony Beavis and his circle of friends and acquaintances, from childhood to mid adulthood, mainly in the first decades of the twentieth century. The storyline is non-sequential, with the events shuffled, so that each chapter picks up the strand at a different point in the characters' lives.
Anthony Beavis, as a boy loses his mother and is raised by a comically pedantic father who delights in etymology--fascinating to him but a tedious bore to all others. A sensitive and reflective youngster, he finds a kindred spirit at his public school with gentle Brian Foxworthy, a friendship that eventual ends in Brian's suicide over a love rivalry, an event that becomes a touchstone for many of the themes in Anthony's development. Meanwhile, Beavis enjoys other sensualities in his youth, with a rather "borderline" woman and then years later, as this women declines into poverty and addiction, her daughter. Then, searching for meaning in his anemic and detached existence, Anthony joins Mark Staithes, a bully from his early years at Balustrode school, on a pointless escapade in South America--an aesthetic violence for violence's sake adventure that leaves Mark Staithes without a leg. Returning to England, Beavis models himself on a pacifist and finds comfort in a philosophy that is good, whole, and, though not intellectually sophisticated as his erstwhile beliefs, benefits people in a direct way. The interest in pacifism coincides with Huxley's humanistic tone in the middle years of his oeuvre.
This report prepared by Damon LaBarbera