Audie Award Nominee, Best Solo Narration, 2013
Jerzy Kosinski’s clever parable of a naive man thrust into the modern world is more pointed now than ever. Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man, The Graduate), perhaps best known for his portrayals of vulnerable characters and antiheroes, gives an understated and exemplary performance of this satiric look at the unreality of American media culture.
Chance, the enigmatic gardener, becomes Chauncey Gardiner after getting hit by a limo belonging to a Wall Street tycoon. The whirlwind that follows brings Chance to his new status of political policy advisor and possible vice presidential candidate. His garden-variety political responses, inspired by television, become heralded as visionary, and he is soon a media icon due to his unknown background and vague, yet appealing, conversational nature. Being There was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film, starring Peter Sellers as Chance, in 1979.
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©1971 Jerzy Kosinski (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Loved the way this character made me feel. It was as easy for me to be moved by Chance as it was for the other characters in his life to be moved by him. I like to listen was a perfect match for Chance's liking to watch..
This was a lot like "Running in the Rain." with Chance playing the dog.
Perfectly matter of fact. Depth with little emotional tone is not easy, I would think, unless you get Chance. Clearly Mr Hoffman does.
Chance would be a good companion at any dinner...though I would prefer we didn't eat with my family. Maybe dinner with Gov. Perry would be interesting to watch.
Relax into learing abour yourself and life, green thumb not necessary.
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.
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.
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.
yes. It's short, quick, and simple. Easy to read. Pleasant.
Yes. he has an interesting way of writing.
Chance lovingly caring for the plants and flowers.
Maybe to a fan of Dustin Hoffman, or of the movie.
Sometimes I think it's sacrilege to suggest to literary types that a book is inferior to the movie adaptation, but every now and then it's true. It's true here.
I liked the story and man ascending by circumstance. Dustin Hoffman's style lended a warm reality to the story.
I was disappointed in how short this book was. It's well written and the characters are pretty well thought out, but it's a cliff hanger. You only read into about a week's worth of a person's life where he has every act of fortune fall into his favor and then it ends.
It needed to come crashing down. He needed to fail and see that life outside a garden is not beautiful, where there is hunger and homelessness and where you have to learn to read and write.
The book left me resenting both the main character, and the author because it's so beyond unrealistic. He's a shyluck- he's smoke in mirrors, regardless if he intended to mislead people or not, then it ends without any consequences.
It would have been less insulting to have it ended with, "and then he woke up, to have realized it was all a dream."
This charming and thought-provoking story was most famously portrayed by Peter Sellers in the movie of the same name. I have always loved the possibilities - is Chance purely a simple man whose words translate for other into deep contemplations or is he truly singularly insightful. Mr. Hoffman's performance breathed believable life into Chance. Great listen! Try this one with a first-time audiobook listener.
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