Regular price: $6.95

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)

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.

Critic Reviews

"Dustin Hoffman's performance of this spare and provocative novel is a revelation. The story is surreal (though certainly not difficult and certainly highly amusing); to deliver it, what is needed is not pacing or vocal pyrotechnics but a thorough, thoughtful understanding of the text and the restraint to perform only exactly what is there." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    725
  • 4 Stars
    482
  • 3 Stars
    215
  • 2 Stars
    43
  • 1 Stars
    25

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    950
  • 4 Stars
    301
  • 3 Stars
    97
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    12

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    644
  • 4 Stars
    440
  • 3 Stars
    203
  • 2 Stars
    54
  • 1 Stars
    28
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

great story. surprisingly on target in our times.

surprisingly in target for our times. great narration. insightful with regard to the importance of media on politicians.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Don't Listen While Driving

My title for the review is a bit of a joke and probably applies only to me. I found this listen very good for dozing off.

Like almost everyone else, I adore and respect the actor Dustin Hoffman. Here, though, he (or the director) made what seemed to me an odd choice. He read the entire book as one would a gentle fairytale. I understand the choice for this particular tale, but I don't agree with it. In an adult book of this length with mature scenes, it didn't work. I wished for variation in the tone.

It's not a particularly gripping story anyway, and my mind wandered. Hoffman's beautiful voice remained soothing and gentle throughout, no matter the scene.

Very very relaxing, perfect for a bedtime story.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Simple Pleasure

This little story is very simple and light. Refreshing, yet sad. No drama or murder, just innocence. It is an amazing listen, no doubt due to the fantastic narrator, Dustin Hoffman. I am not sure if I would qualify this story as funny. It is not humorous that someone exists, but doesn't according to our measures of existence in society. Unfortunately, I suspect that there are definitely others in our world who are exactly like Chance...those who are educated by only watching television with no interaction with the outside world. However, when placed in certain situations, some things should come natural, physiologically, if you know what I mean. Don't want to be a spoiler.

Chance is also very cunning and intelligent. He did appreciate kindness and took advantage of every opportunity that would benefit him. He spoke very plain and direct. It is also interesting that the people with whom he later came into contact only wanted to hear what they they wanted to hear. They were the ones who put meaning into what he said by interpreting his words according to their needs. Chance allowed this to happen.

This is a wonderful short story full of wonderment and surprises. Enjoy

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A wonderful book

If you could sum up Being There in three words, what would they be?

Trenchant, darkly funny, a fable for the TV age

What does Dustin Hoffman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Excellent narration. Perfect.

If you could take any character from Being There out to dinner, who would it be and why?

E.E. for obvious reasons....

Any additional comments?

The movie with Peter Sellers and Shirley Maclaine is one of my all-time favorites, yet it does not overshadow this audiobook version. Jerzy Kosinski's well-honed words reward attention, and Dustin Hoffman's reading is perfect. Do not be misled by certain reviewers who compare it unfavorably with the film: one does not detract from the other.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A must read!

I hesitate to say anything for fear of giving anything away. My main (and almost only) criticism is its brevity. I want more!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A great listen!

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!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

outstanding!

loved it! ripped through this a lot faster than expected. Dustin Hoffman's narration kept me at the edge of my seat.

  • Overall

An old Favorite Revisited

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A very easy fun read

It was fun to listen to. I felt rich having the great Dustin Hoffman read me a book. He was great, and so was the book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Luzia
  • METEPEC, Mexico
  • 06-07-16

Good!

The story unfolds smoothly and is amazingly plausible in today's context of media validation. Definitely interesting.