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Being There

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  8,137 Ratings  ·  632 Reviews
Chauncey Gardiner is the great enigma: a hero of the American media. TV loves him; print pursues him. He is a household face; the one everybody is talking about. Nobody knows what he is talking about or where he has come from, but everybody knows he has come to money, power and sex. Was he led to all this by the lovely, well-connected wife of a dying Wall Street tycoon? Or ...more
Hardcover, 142 pages
Published December 31st 1971 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P (first published January 1st 1970)
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Glenn Russell
Apr 19, 2014 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


If you listen to audio books you will enjoy this classic performance by Dustin Hoffman. Perhaps you are familiar with the film based on the novel; if you are unfamiliar with the short novel itself, here's your chance to experience a truly insightful and compelling work of literature through the voice of an outstanding actor. And from what author Jersy Koskinski writes in the first few pages, a reasonable take on the back-story goes like this: main character Chance’s mother died in childbirth, pr
...more
Glenn Sumi
Apr 01, 2017 Glenn Sumi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemp-classics
Kosinski's 1970 satire about a simple gardener who rises to become an influential political pundit, commentator and presidential advisor is considered a classic, and rightly so.

It's especially relevant today, when the level of nonsensical wankery by our leaders or so-called celebrities has reached an art form. Chance/Chauncey's "wisdom" he dispenses from his knowledge of gardening or his constant watching of TV is consistently amusing – as are the reactions of the people around him. Kosinski wri
...more
Amir
Jan 13, 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
MJ Nicholls
Aug 26, 2012 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
TK421
Dec 14, 2010 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
Ray
Jun 13, 2017 Ray rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Chance is a gardener in the house of the "Old Man", a job that he has had for as long as he can remember. Chance is uneducated, he cannot read or write, and he has never been outside the garden. He watches television obsessively.

Then the old man dies. His executors close up the old man's estate and send Chance out into the world. He is wholly unprepared.

A series of improbable events propel Chance into the upper echelons of American society. He meets business leaders, the President, foreign amba
...more
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.
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
Teresa
Jan 06, 2014 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e5, 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
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.
Ghazal Kazemi
کتاب از واقعیت تلخ فاصله گرفته بود تا بهتر بتونه نقش آفرینی شخصیت اول که نمایانگر انسان واقعی هست رو ممکن کنه، این حالت برای من یادآور مرد فیل نما بود که توی ۱۲ سالگی خوندم و با توجه به سنم از همچین فضایی لذت بردم... اما الآن این حالت یه مقدار برام غیر قابل درک بود... ولی نویسنده خیلی خوب تونسته بود اون انسان واقعی رو ترسیم بکنه.
Hengameh
Apr 30, 2015 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.
Maciek
Nov 28, 2009 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
Paul
Jul 16, 2015 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
A.J.
Aug 26, 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
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
Mary
Oct 23, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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 16, 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...
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
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.
Ms.pegasus
Nov 26, 2016 Ms.pegasus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in satire
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: selection of local book club
Shelves: fiction
A somber message underlies Kosinsky's playful, deceptively simple fable. He sketches out a preposterous situation. The main character has spent his entire life confined to his room in a mansion and its walled garden. He was born there. His sole occupation is tending the garden. His sole view of the world is from watching the TV in his room. That complacent existence is disrupted when the recluse who dwells in the mansion dies.

Although Kosinski tells this story with a third person voice, the poin
...more
Yani
Feb 18, 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
aPriL does feral sometimes
What an awful, horrific, hater's book! Jerzy Kosinski, the author, must have had a bad year going to meet-and-grins in high society. Nobody is ok in this book. In Kosinski's bleak, black satire, he blasts away at civilized humanity, and at our poseur thinking selves (avatars is what I actually want to say). In truth, the hidden extreme self-involvement and the resulting recursive solipsism driving every single human being, in the author's opinion, is an ugly thing.

The book was written in 1971,
...more
Steve
In 78-79, when I was in 9th grade history (or world studies?) this book was mentioned as being significant (along with, if memory serves, On the Beach, Ulysses, and I think Brave New World ) presumably because of its cultural impact. Strangely, this class was the only place I'd ever heard the book mentioned to that point, and then never heard about it again 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 ...more
Thom
Jan 03, 2017 Thom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review focuses solely on the book, as it's been decades since I've seen the film. Chance the gardner is used to prove the point that the clothes make the man. The first impression is of a neatly tailored shirt and suit, excellent shoes, a briefcase that is in excellent shape if quite a few years old. (The suit fits, of course, because Chance is likely the bastard son of their previous owner). Considering that impression and the location (the home of a wealthy man, a UN conference, etc.), pe ...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!
Pablo
Mar 16, 2017 Pablo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una historia absurda, casi delirante. Muy entretenida, con momentos para la risa. Un personaje principal muy especial. El principio del libro es magistral.

Por ahí leí que este libro era plagio. Como sea, eso le quita mérito al autor, no a la obra en sí.
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
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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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