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Being There Audiobook

Being There

Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (978 )
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4.6 (888 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jan 05-24-13
    Jan 05-24-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great narrator, but the plot's beyond ridiculous"

    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.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Greensboro, NC 04-03-13
    James Greensboro, NC 04-03-13 Member Since 2006

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thanks, David!"
    What did you love best about Being There?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Being There to and why?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Dustin Hoffman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes it was, and I did! Gratefully!


    Any additional comments?

    I want to thank my friend David from college. He introduced me to this writer then, and I remain appreciative.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica M. Merbler Gaithersburg, Maryland United States 07-27-12
    Jessica M. Merbler Gaithersburg, Maryland United States 07-27-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Not even Dustin Hoffman was interested in this one"

    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.

    8 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 07-01-12
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 07-01-12 Member Since 2012

    Breesmom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Simple"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes. It's short, quick, and simple. Easy to read. Pleasant.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jerzy Kosinski? Why or why not?

    Yes. he has an interesting way of writing.


    Which character – as performed by Dustin Hoffman – was your favorite?

    Chance.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Chance lovingly caring for the plants and flowers.


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carrie 05-25-16
    carrie 05-25-16
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    "Enjoyable light read with great narration"
    Any additional comments?

    This story portrays a simple vulnerable man who is perceived by a successful tycoon to be brilliant and then it snowballs to everyone believing he is brilliant. Enjoyable afternoon listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Curmudgeon at Large Central USA 05-19-16
    Curmudgeon at Large Central USA 05-19-16 Member Since 2013

    Ron

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    "Great Book"

    Great unique story. Well told by Dustin Hoffman. Well worth the time to listen to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 04-21-16
    Richard 04-21-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Amazing"

    Wonderful story, Dustin Hoffman does a really great job of narrating the story. Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Hawryluk 03-23-16
    N. Hawryluk 03-23-16 Member Since 2016

    SpikeDelight

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    "Really Funny, With Great Narration"

    Consistently funny little story, which smartly doesn't overstay its welcome and avoids all potential pitfalls of self-seriousness. Hoffman personifies the main character perfectly. Definitely makes me want to see the film again. [AUDIBLE]

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SmartShopper 03-20-16
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    "Doesn't get any better..."

    Loved the old movie with Peter O'Toole. Very quirky and original. Of course, the book is even better and to be read by Dustin Hoffman? Sublime!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nathan 02-25-16
    nathan 02-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Dustin Hoffman Narrated This Book Perfectly"
    Where does Being There rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    average. book great narration


    Any additional comments?

    Very unique.
    I bought this book on a Daily Deal with no knowledge of the story. Dustin Hoffman was perfect for this book. This was a pretty good book but i honestly think Hoffman took it from a 2* to a 4*. I cant remember a book that was as positively affected by a narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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