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.
Being There is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star helped select. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.
©1971 Jerzy Kosinski (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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.
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.
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.
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 have long loved the Peter Sellers' movie of this title, and wondered if Dustin Hoffman's reading of the book could compare. As usual, the book is far better than any movie, and the reading style suits the story perfectly. I will listen to this again - and often. Brilliantly presented!
Nearly 40 years ago I watched the movie, Being There, with Peter Sellers and Shirley MacClaine. In this audio recording Dustin Hoffman beautifully captured the magic of this sort for me all over again. What a treat! I loved it.
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