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Being There by Jerzy N. Kosinski

Being There (original 1971; edition 1999)

by Jerzy N. Kosinski

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1,349175,707 (3.77)56
Title:Being There
Authors:Jerzy N. Kosinski
Info:Grove Press (1999), Edition: 1st Grove Press Ed, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, politics, postmodern

Work details

Being There by Jerzy Kosiński (1971)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
The writing is as meticulous and taut as Chance himself. There is a bizarre relevance to this book, some 45 years after the publication, perhaps even a new meaning for thematic revisionists of literature. In today's world, Chancey, the idiot gardener, is what middle class America has become; largely sheltered, ignorant and a parrot for what is churned out to them in media. Politicians latch on to the simpleton for their own gain, using the spew back in your face tactic in order to keep careers and political gain. And what ends is a strange cycle of stagnation and philistinism as the cultural snake constantly eats the tail. A re-write of this would include social media for certain. We see what we want to see, we hear what we want to hear, even in an idiot that is merely reciting television. At the same time, Chance's reflections on gardening are lovely and simple, it just gets wildly bastardized. Jerzy Kosinski has created a parable that has held the test of time and leaves room for generations of interpretations. ( )
  noblechicken | Sep 9, 2015 |
Por mucho que ame al gran Peter Sellers desde que tengo memoria, voy a admitir que el libro es muchísimo mejor que la pelicula protagonizada por él.

Sencillo y desopilante. Raras veces carcajeo leyendo un libro pero este me gano completamente. Bien escrito, original y, a pesar de lo bizarro de la historia , te la creès igual . ( )
  LaMala | Jun 7, 2015 |
In Chance, or Chauncey Gardiner as he becomes known to the world, Jerzy Kosinski, has provided the other characters of this story as well as the reader a way to project what they want to see and hear in a person.

Chance, who appears to suffer from some form of mental impairment (some version of autism?), cannot read nor write, he can converse without a problem, although his conversations are mostly limited to television and his gardening, as he knows nothing outside these two elements. Fate throws Chance into the political consiciousness of the world, and everyone who encounters him takes his simple answers as deep thought analogies or admissions. Chance is not lying, simply speaking of what he knows, which is pretty limited. People project their hopes, desires and plans on him and his words, not realizing that he is unable to understand even their most basic needs.

A great (but short) read. Will provide plenty to discuss and ponder. ( )
  Melkor81205 | Dec 8, 2013 |
A delightful modern parable. Chance, who has worked as the gardner at The Old Man's estate for as long as he can remember, finds himself - through no fault of his own and without hardly saying a word - is transformed into Chauncy Gardiner, and projected into the highest levels of international politics. When he does speak, he frames every observation around his experiences in the garden. Everyone around him takes his very literal answers as deep allegorical philosophy. As Rock Man said, "People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear." A very quick read, which will leave you with plenty to think about. ( )
  zenhead | Jun 26, 2013 |
Just a quick addendum to what others have said. Beyond the political and sexual satire, there is a comprehensive moral tone here recalling Anatole France at his best. There are also, in pleasing contrast, occasional poetic touches of considerable grace. Consier this (from page 43): "He watched the thousands in their ranks, who were reduced by the TV screen to mere mounds of leaves swept forward by a driving wind." Or this (from page 53): "Of all the manifold things there were in all the world -- trees, grass, flowers, telephones, radios, elevators -- only TV constantly heldup a mirror to its own neither solid nor fluid face." ( )
1 vote HarryMacDonald | Nov 8, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jerzy Kosińskiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Timmers, OscarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For KATHERINA v. F. who taught me
that love is more
than the longing
to be together
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It was Sunday.
'In a garden,' he said, 'growth has its seasons. There are spring and summer, but there are also fall and winter. And then spring and summer again. As long as the roots are not severed, all is well and all will be well.'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802136346, Paperback)

A modern classic now available from Grove Press, Being There is one of the most popular and significant works from a writer of international stature. It is the story of Chauncey Gardiner - Chance, an enigmatic but distinguished man who emerges from nowhere to become an heir to the throne of a Wall Street tycoon, a presidential policy adviser, and a media icon. Truly "a man without qualities," Chance's straightforward responses to popular concerns are heralded as visionary. But though everyone is quoting him, no one is sure what he's really saying. And filling in the blanks in his background proves impossible. Being There is a brilliantly satiric look at the unreality of American media culture that is, if anything, more trenchant now than ever.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:12 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The story of Chauncey Gardiner--Chance--an enigmatic but distinguished man who emerges from nowhere to become an heir to the throne of a Wall Street tycoon, a presidential policy advisor, and a media icon.

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