i've always liked dustin hoffman AND jerzy kosinski, but i was a tiny bit apprehensive if this was going to be any good. for one, hoffman has, as he has gotten older, acquired a certain set of actory habits that can be a little grating. and for another, there's the movie with peter sellers, which could get in hoffman's or kosinski's way here.
so the pleasant surprise is that hoffman does a subdued job, you barely begin to recognise it's him, even. he rattles through the story at speed, keeping the listener's interest awake and well primed, and yes, there's clearly some irony here, and some satire, but the novel actually predates the reagan presidency, so it should not be confused with, say, a philip roth job on nixon.
it's a short tale, and can be taken in during an afternoon's comfortable session with biscuits and coffee or cakes and ale. and will stay with you for a long time afterwards. i certainly enjoyed listening to this reading, having already read the book and watched the movie.
Missing the obvious!
He did a good job of representing the main character. You could envision the character's physical look based on the voice Hoffman used.
News media and elected officials, a partnership that deserves each other.
I would make it a bit less insulting to the media and to people in general, whom the book portrays time and again as supremely gullible and superficial.
I felt dissatisfied with the ending. I wanted more credibility.
I felt sad when Chance walked out of the garden and the gate closed behind him, locking him out (forever) of the only place he had ever known.
Also, how Chance was dubbed Gardiner was a really smart bit.
The book has opened my eyes some more to the cynicism and insincerity that underlies many public political interactions and relationships. Perhaps what it inspired me to do is set out to be more authentic in my interactions.
I feel vaguely unsatisfied at the end of the audiobook. Something substantial seems to be missing, but I cannot say exactly what. I think it has to do with the portrayal of so many people as so easily misleadable. Perhaps there is some truth in that, but not given this book's premise. I wonder what the movie portrayal was like, but I do not think I would undertake this story a second time.
No one could ever be as stupid and gullible as the people who "misread" Chancy in this book. I had hoped it would be deeper than the movie, or that the writing would be colorful enough to make up for the plot, but alas. Disappointing.
Dustin Hoffman is awesome as a narrator. His beautiful voice and talent are wasted on this novel, but I would not hesitate to listen to some other book narrated by him.
It’s basically exactly the same as the movie, but with a little more sex and a little more internal dialogue. For me the interesting part was realizing how the story isn’t only about how people hear what they want to hear and often mold what others say into something unintended. It can also be seen through a race, gender and class lens. So we’ve got the story of a mentally slow man who is white and who is dressed well. His simplistic statements about gardening are misinterpreted as genius symbolism about economics. Soon he’s hanging out with billionaires, ambassadors and the president of the United States. Imagine whether the mentally impaired words of someone not dressed as well, a woman, or a black man or woman would ever be misconstrued in such a way. Thought-provoking still. Not dated at all.
Dustin Hoffman's narration is excellent.
Just a small town boy, trying to make it in the big city.
Great, great story and Hoffman is a superb narrator. Putting his great intonations in all the right spots you can tell this novel and it's author are very important to him.
I loved it!
Yes, it is funny, tender and the Mr. Hoffman voice makes it so easy to understand.
When Chance is on television
Dustin Hoffman's reading of this fine novella really enhances its gently satirical qualities. It has just the right touch of pathos and poignancy in its depiction of Chance's world, and when Chance's world collides with the power brokers of the mighty USA Hoffman's reading highlights Kosinski's brilliant exposition of the shallow absurdity of their workings.
Just finished Being There by Jerzy Kosinski. It was like looking at modern art, where the artist is clearly trying to Be Artistic instead of, say, painting (or, in this case, telling a story.) About the only thing I really took away from it was 1) "here's another 60s/70s story I don't enjoy due to needless emphasis on sex," and 2) Kosinski obviously feels that people take away whatever they want to from an exchange instead of what's actually there. Which, while I agree with that, I felt that the message was clumsily presented. I don't understand why this is considered such an important work.
I love history and enjoy reading different books about the past. I like to joke that I have read many books about the outcome at Gettysburg, but no matter how many I read the outcome remains the same! I do find it interesting and fascinating to get different takes and outlooks on the same events.
I loved the remarkable way that the late Jerzy Kosinski tackled compiling a book that could have been much longer into such a short and brief package. He apparently got some advice that I recall from an old English teacher in my past: Write more like Hemmingway and less like Faulkner.
A good comparison that comes to mind for me is the late Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five". Both writers in both books had a knack for tackling difficult subjects within a framework that each created which allowed them to be simple, brief, and direct. Their product emerges strongly and requires deep and thoughtful consideration from the reader/listener.
Hoffman's performance of this narration is excellent and he is deserving of praise. I have not heard other narrations from Dustin Hoffman and therefore cannot compare this with other performances.
Yes it was, and I did! Gratefully!
I want to thank my friend David from college. He introduced me to this writer then, and I remain appreciative.