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Being There

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,727 Ratings  ·  486 Reviews
A modern classic now available from Grove Press, Being There is one of the most popular and significant works from a writer of international stature. It is the story of Chauncey Gardiner - Chance, an enigmatic but distinguished man who emerges from nowhere to become an heir to the throne of a Wall Street tycoon, a presidential policy adviser, and a media icon. Truly "a man ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published January 1st 1970)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Glenn Russell
Aug 19, 2015 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

From what author Jersy Koskinski writes in the first few pages of this short novel, a reasonable take on the back-story goes like this: main character Chance’s mother died in childbirth, probably giving birth in the lawyer-father’s house so as to leave no record or documentation (as opposed to hospital record-keeping) since the old lawyer aimed to avoid anything official about his being the father. And then over the next several years, probably the result of some type of brain-damage, observing
...more
MJ Nicholls
Aug 26, 2014 MJ Nicholls rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter Sellers’s last (and best?) performance was in Being There—directed by Hal Ashby with Kosiński’s screenplay—one of my favourite American tragicomedies. The original novella compresses the meat of the movie into straightforward and simple chapters, mimicking the simple mind of Chance, the anonymous simpleton whose plain-talking homilies propel him into the top of American life within four days. The film brings the character of Chance into being through Peter Sellers, who expands upon the sim ...more
Amir
Jan 15, 2015 Amir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
سه چهار سال پیش توی یکی از شبهای بد زندگیم به طور اتفاقی فیلمی رو دیدم که حالم رو از این رو به اون رو کرد. پیتر سلرز تو اون فیلم نقش باغبون بینام و نشونی رو بازی میکرد که همهی عمرش رو تو خونهی یکی باغبونی کرده بود. «چنسی گاردینر» تو همهی زندگیش از اون خونه بیرون نیومده بود، مریض نشده بود، چیزی نخونده و چیزی ننوشته بود و تنها راه ارتباطیش با دنیای خارج تلویزیون کوچیکش بود و حالا با مرگ پیرمرد باید اون دنیای کوچیک قشنگ خونگیش رو ول میکرد و وارد دنیایی میشد که هیچ رد و نشونی ازش نداره
.
گاهی بعضی از
...more
TK421
Jan 25, 2012 TK421 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
At a scant 128 pages, this is a small book with enormous implications. Although written in the seventies (with a movie starring Peter Sellers in the eighties), the storyline is very prescient today. Before reading this slim novel, think about the myriad of ways people continue to infer incorrectly important issues, or how they get their information pertaining an issue.

A slender gem that needs to be read by all.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Teresa
Mar 23, 2015 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-estrelas, n-polonia
Adoro Jerzy Kosinski!
Tudo o que este homem escreveu é Magnífico!
Inteligente Ousado Polémico Absorvente Emocionante Dramático Divertido Louco Demoníaco e tudo o mais que seja Bom!

É possível que um pobre tipo, ingénuo, analfabeto e que, sem fazer o mínimo de esforço, consiga alcançar as maiores honras e um lugar de topo na sociedade? Kosinski diz que sim e eu acredito nele. Um fato de bom pano e corte, uma conversa de leitura ambígua e propícia a ser interpretada conforme as conveniências do inter
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Being There, Jerzy Kosiński
عنوان: بودن؛ نویسنده: یرژی کاشینسکی؛ برگردان: مهسا ملک مرزبان؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، آموت، 1393، در 136 ص، شابک: 9786005941524؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکایی قرن 20 م
رمان «بودن» درباره باغبانی چهل ساله است که پس از مرگ صاحبکارش مجبور به ترک محلی که در آن کار کرده، میشود. اما چون باغبان پیش از آن هیچگاه از محل کارش خارج نشده، مواجههاش با جهان بیرون برایش عجیب است، و از سوی دیگر برای مردم نیز دیدن و صحبت کردن با او عجیب مینماید. با این حال و در نهایت باغبان بر اثر یک
...more
Mohammad
آنگاه که کسی مخاطب دیگران و یا طرف توجه سایرین قرار می گیرد، خیالش راحت میشود .در این هنگام اعمال فرد توسط سایرین به همان نوعی تفسیر میشود که آنان رفتارهای خود را تفسیر می کنند.هیچگاه سایرین بیش از آنچه درباره ی خود می دانند درباره ی دیگران نمی دانند.
Gerald
Feb 15, 2008 Gerald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kosinski was one of my instructors in college. He taught a seminar on Camus and Sartre.

I remember he said, "The only moment of true freedom I ever experience was on airplane suspended between the two collectives."

The movie version was excellent but with much of the thematic weight of the book missing. And it's not that the book is too voluminous. That part is just unfilmable.
Hengameh
Jan 06, 2016 Hengameh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
یکی از خوب ترین کتابای کوتاهی بود که خوندم
به تصویر کشیدن یه انسان ناب،دست نخورده، وصل به طبیعت
آدمی که با دوری از آدم ها به مقام انسان اصیل نائل شده!!
راست گویی ساده انگارانه ی شخصیت اول و در مقابل برداشت دغل بازانه و سیاست مدارانه از هر حرف ساده ، چیزی که از خوندنش تو کتاب لذت بردم و حرص خوردم!
غم انگیز فقط پایان نانوشته ی کتاب می تونه باشه...
که خب بهتر که نوشته نشده چون پایان قابل تصوریه و نیاز به بیانش نبود
حرف های کتاب تو همین حجم کم با همین داستان بدون ته به بهترین وجه زده شد

هیجان زده ام برای
...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
I read Being There in my infancy, prior most likely to my familiarity with Herr Heidegger.

I saw the film last night, the one staring Peter Sellars.

(view spoiler) no matter what Melvyn Douglas's granddaughter (on the dvd extras) has to say. It is indeed possible to entirely, and at an angle of 180, misinterpret a piece of literature. Sometimes one needn't pay attention because one always already knows what They say and so does one.
...more
A.J.
Aug 28, 2008 A.J. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, literary
You can Google this book and come up with numerous learned and not-so-learned papers discussing it, and this might lead you to think it significant. You might be swayed by people who call it a postmodern masterpiece or an existential gem, or by the fact that it was made into a film. But look at Kosinski's prose: this particular emperor is stark naked. In short, this novel has a good premise and is full of good ideas, amateur in their execution.

A back-of-the-book puff piece in my copy cites "a cr
...more
Paul
Feb 06, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd never read any Kosinski before and only bought this book as I'm a fan of Dustin Hoffman. As you'd expect from such an accomplished actor, Hoffman's narration is superb; I'd have him read all my books to me if I could! What came as a pleasant surprise, though, was that the story was as good as the performance. It's a really touching, funny story and my only complaint would be that there wasn't enough of it. It could have been twice as long and I still wouldn't have wanted it to end. I would d ...more
Jim
Sep 10, 2008 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's interesting that I've picked up and read this story right now in view of McCain's selection of Palin, a virtual unknown, and her rapid escallation to the front page of the country's newspapers. That's almost exactly what occurred to Chance, the name of a man who had served without pay as a wealthy man's gardener until he suddenly found himself without a job or a family when the man died. While roaming the streets deciding what to next, a chauffeur backing into a parking place, pinned his le ...more
Maciek
Feb 07, 2010 Maciek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very different from other novels by Kosinski. After the death of his employer, Chance, the gardener, is forced to leave the mansion where he lived all his life - and he has never left it before. Unaccustomed to the booming City and lively street, he is jostled by a car. The woman travelling in the car offer to take him into her house, so her doctor can take care of him. While Chance gets back to health, both the woman and her husband start discovering extraordinary qualities that he posesses.
Ver
...more
Naeem Nedaee
سراسر کتاب این دلشوره رو داشتم که نکنه الان همه چی لو بره و همه بفهمن که چنس یه باغبون ساده س. واقعا چطور ممکنه کسی نفهمه؟!! به نظرم میرسه که هر کدوم از شخصیتا بالاخره در جایی از رمان به این واقعیت پی بردند اما سادگی و صداقت چنس انقدر براشون جذابیت داشت که همونطور پذیرفتنش.
Gypsy

بودن برام خاص بود. نویسندهش واقعاً نویسنده نیس. امّا ایجازی که در سرتاسر متن پیاده کرده، بهش اعتلا بخشیده. همین ایجاز هس که داستانی تا اینحد مفهومگرا رو سهل و ساده کرده. از طرفی، گفتم نویسنده واقعاً نویسنده نیس. چون چارچوبهای معمول داستانـو در هم شکسته. برای خلق همون ایجاز دلنشین، از خیلی چیزا گذشته و جسته و پریده تا عصارهی داستانـو تقدیم کنه. این خوبه. ولی کافی نیس. بعضی وختا یهتوصیفایی میشد که لازم نبودن؛ خصوصاً وختی میدیدی یهتوصیفا و فضاسازیهایی که لازم بودن، حذف شدن و نویسنده بهشون نپرداخته.
...more
Yani
Jul 31, 2014 Yani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yani by: Lau
Shelves: novela-corta
Otro libro curioso que se suma a la lista de rarezas que estoy leyendo en estos días. Me recordó mucho a Novecento, de Alessandro Baricco, porque sus personajes tienen algo en común: pasan años de su vida en un mismo sitio y conocen el mundo desde perspectivas distintas. Me gustó mucho y es un 4.5.

Chance, el protagonista en cuestión, vive en una casa cuyo dueño es un personaje que se llama simplemente Anciano y uno puede intuir la relación entre ellos. Lo importante, en realidad, es que Chance
...more
Evan
So, there was a German film in the mid-1970s, a Werner Herzog-directed movie of cult status titled, The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser, based supposedly on a true incident from hundreds of years ago in which a man, a kind of idiot, suddenly appeared in a town and his origins remained a mystery. In the film, Hauser is shown to be raised in a dark, prison-like condition, cut off completely from the ways of the world and socialization. Raised like some factory farm animal. Then one day his caretaker dies ...more
Tannaz Pirasteh
Jan 22, 2016 Tannaz Pirasteh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب رو سر کار خوندم امسال با نشر آموت توی نمایشگاه آشنا شدم یه کتاب دیگه هم ازشون خریدم که امیدوارم اون هم به خوبی همین کتاب باشه
این کتاب درباره فردی نوشته شده که توی تمام سالهای زندگیش نادیده گرفته شده و دچار نوعی اختلال مغزی هم هست بنابراین بعد از فوت کسی که باهاش زندگی میکنه هیچی بهش نمی رسه و تنها می مونه و اتفاقی با یه خانواده آشنا میشه که نقش مهمی تو سیاست کشور دارن و از هیچی به یه جایگاه ویژه می رسه و هیچ کس جز خودش نیست اما بقیه دربارش اشتباه میکنن حتی فکر میکنن که جاسوسِ و به همین
...more
Steve
In 78-79, when I was in 9th grade history (or world studies?) this book was mentioned as being significant, presumably because of its cultural impact. Strangely, this class was the only place I'd ever heard the book mentioned, and never heard about it after until the movie came out. Didn't see the movie. I found a 99 cent paperback copy at a book sale last year, and just pulled it off the shelf yesterday, which is to say I'm now halfway through it.

Will comment further upon finishing, but thus fa
...more
Mary
Oct 23, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, novella
I am still in the process of adding books from years ago and came across Being There. I am not sure how this would read today but on it's release it was a favorite (and then a movie version). I remember enjoying this very much and to this day those of us of a certain age can use Chauncy Gardner as an adjective and still get a chuckle. The media and government were dimly viewed in that era and so much of fiction at that time reflected an almost cynical society. This was when Vidal, Irving, Roth, ...more
Jim
Aug 17, 2011 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you haven't read this short little gem, read it now, then go to some sort of republocrat/conservative/teaparty party and try some of Chance's minimalist conversation techniques. While people are discussing debt ceilings and budget re-toolings, respond with things like "Tilling has its place, but I've always believed in allowing the subsoil to settle." I'm sure you'll be invited to visit various yachts and private estates, as well as being introduced to their unmarried sons and daughters...
Lukasz Pruski
I saw Hal Ashby's movie "Being There" about 20 years ago and I still remember the huge impression it made on me. Peter Sellers was magnificent as Chance the gardener. I have just finished reading Jerzy Kosinski's book, on which the movie is based, and I find the book much weaker than the movie.

Kosinski's short novella is a one-gimmick book: a simple gardener who has never been outside of his employer's residence, who knows first-hand only about gardening, who learns about people and the world fr
...more
Tony
Aug 29, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BEING THERE. (1970). Jerzy Kosinski. *****.
I first read this novel by Kosinski forty-some years ago when it first came out. I thought it was a terrific novel back then, and continue to think so on second reading. The story of Chance, the Gardiner, will stay with you forever after you have read this. Chance, or Chauncey which his name was modified to, represented the simplest form of a sentient human being. He was raised and continued to exist with a minimum of sensory input about what was going
...more
Somayye
داستان درمورد مرد باغبانی است که در تمام طول عمرش از باغ (محل کار و زندگی او) خارج نشده و تنها راه ارتباط او با دنياي بیرون تلویزیون است.
خروج او از باغ و مواجه شدن او با دنيای بیرون بسیار جالب بود. نگاه ساده و انسانی او به زندگی کم نظیر است.
اما به نظرم داستان زیادی کوتاه بود شاید به این دلیل که همه چیز سریع رخ داد....سبک نگارش کاشینسکی هم مورد پسندم نبود!
Mohammad
یکی از معدود مواردی که فیلم از کتاب بهتر هست.در واقع اصلا قابل مقایسه نیست.
وقتی فیلم تمام میشه بازی پیتر سلرز و خود فیلم احتمالا تا مدت ها تو خاطرتون میمونه.اما وقتی کتاب تمام میشه به خودتون میگید:همین؟
aPriL does feral sometimes
What an awful, horrific, hateful book. Kosinski must have had a bad year or ten in high society. Nobody is ok in this book. In Kosinski's bleak, black satire it blasts away at who we we are, our thinking selves (avatars is what I actually want to say) which in truth hide self-knowledge or awareness of the extreme self-involvement and the resulting recursive solipsism of every single human being, in the author's opinion. I don't think some readers have caught on that Chance is a symbol of the inn ...more
Gemma
May 14, 2011 Gemma rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was as though Kosinski took a manual for writing postmodern novels and copied it verbatim. Omnipresent television, personality-less hero, lampooning of society's empty values...and did I mention omnipresent television? With painfully childishly-wrought, obvious metaphors about "being seen" and "watched"? Did you know we only exist if we are seen? Blah, blah, Baudrillard, whatever bleh.

I've heard this was a great film, though, and Kosinski did win a BAFTA and a Writer's Guild something-or-othe
...more
Erin
Apr 29, 2008 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is simple, and really doesn't need to have too many words to be profound. The same can be said of sweet, simple-minded Chauncy Gardiner, the main character. At first, I wasn't sure whether he was sane or insane. I quickly surmised that he was, at the very least, more sane than Yours Truly. It was a total treat to read his reactions to the 'normal', sophisticated, cosmopolitan people he interacted with. I was reminded that sometimes we CAN just look at the flowers, or even the TV, witho ...more
Phil Ford
Sep 18, 2015 Phil Ford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing is as meticulous and taut as Chance himself. There is a bizarre relevance to this book, some 45 years after the publication, perhaps even a new meaning for thematic revisionists of literature. In today's world, Chancey, the idiot gardener, is what middle class America has become; largely sheltered, ignorant and a parrot for what is churned out to them in media. Politicians latch on to the simpleton for their own gain, using the spew back in your face tactic in order to keep careers a ...more
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11121
Kosiński was born Josef Lewinkopf to Jewish parents in Łódź, Poland. As a child during World War II, he lived in central Poland under a false identity his father gave him to use, Jerzy Kosiński. A Roman Catholic priest issued him a forged baptismal certificate. The Kosiński family survived the Holocaust thanks to local villagers, who offered assistance to Jewish Poles often at great personal risk ...more
More about Jerzy Kosiński...

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