Eyeless in Gaza revolves around the lives of a small group of the English upper middle classes, during a period of more than thirty years. The narrative falls into five distinct time periods: 1902 to 1904, 1914, 1926 to 1928, August, 1933, to February, 1934, and April, 1934, to 1935. A few chapters take place in 1912 and 1931. The narrative does not proceed chronologically, however, but continually jumps backward and forward. Chapter 1 takes place in August, 1933, but the next chapter jumps to 1934. Chapter 3 returns to 1933, and the two subsequent chapters take place in 1902 and 1926, respectively. This pattern continues throughout the book.
In terms of the narrative rather than the chronological order of events, the novel starts and ends with the focus on Anthony Beavis and his lover Helen Ledwidge, formerly Helen Amberley. Their growth to a more mature, less irresponsible way of living is one of the key elements in the novel. Chronologically, however, the novel begins as the ten-year-old Anthony accompanies his father and his uncle to the funeral of his mother. It is here that he first meets Mary Amberley, nine years his senior, destined to become his first mistress and already pregnant with Helen, also destined to become Anthony’s lover. This section of the narrative also relates Anthony’s experiences at private school, in which he makes friends with two fellow pupils, Brian Foxe and Mark Staithes.
The same cast of characters reappears...
(The entire section is 579 words.)