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Being There Paperback – 1 May 1996

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 May 1996
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group); Reissue edition (May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553279300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553279306
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,764,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

""Being There" is one of those rare books which echoes in the mind long after you have finished it. It will survive as a seminal work of the Seventies."--"New York Post."

Book Description

The classic story of an innocent who changes the world --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this years and years ago - and I could not put it down. Look at the world through the eyes of someone with a different viewpoint. Imagine a world where you didn't understand innuendo and sarcasm. Try and believe in a man who is entirely honest, with no understanding of pretence, and no pretence of understanding. That is Chance, the gardener, who's only experience of the world is through the TV - who became Chauncey Gardiner, mover, shaker and advisor to the President. This story is dark, and left me re-examining my view of the world. They made a film of this with Peter Sellers, and nobody really understood the simple humour and the painful observation of us all that made this story a classic. No-one but Sellers could have done it justice. The comparison with Forrest Gump is inescapable - but you have to read this one to make it really work.
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Format: Paperback
Succinct, pithy, brilliant. An earlier review gives the plot outline so I won't repeat it. I saw the film, then read the book, then saw the film again. Apparently Kosinski wrote this book, and then went through it meticulously deleting every line that wasn't absolutely necessary. Hence this is short, to the point, almost a novella, but nothing is missed. A truly superb fable for our time, for any time perhaps, about the danger of assumption and the fact that people fundamentally want to be told the truth.
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Format: Paperback
I first became aware of this book as the basis for the remarkable film starring Peter Sellers and Melvyn Douglas. Kosinski's book, however, is just as remarkable in its own right.

The hero of the book is Chance, a mentally retarded adult who works as the gardener at the home of a wealthy retired New York lawyer. During the whole of his adult life, Chance has never left the house and garden; his only contact with the outside world is through television, which he watches obsessively. His life changes, however, when his employer dies, the house is sold and he is forced to leave. Chance is slightly injured when he is hit by a car belonging to Elizabeth Eve ("EE"), the wife of Benjamin Rand, a rich and influential Wall Street financier and a friend of the President. EE, mishearing "Chance the gardener" as "Chauncey Gardiner" and mistakenly believing Chance to be a successful businessman, invites him to stay with her and her husband at their home. A series of misunderstandings leads all concerned to believe that Chance is not only a businessman but also an economic prophet. He is invited to speak on national television where he talks about the only thing he understands, gardening. A series of platitudes about the changing of the seasons in the garden is taken to be an extended metaphor forecasting an upturn in the economy, and his supposed optimism strikes a chord with the viewing public. The book ends with the elderly, terminally ill, Rand about to name Chance as his heir and successor, and the President about to nominate him as his vice-presidential running-mate.

The book is short, a novella rather than a novel, of around 100 pages. The style is direct, simple and like a fable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book that I have read after seeing a movie, a movie that I have seen many times which I qualify as one of my all time favourites, and I must say what an enlightenment, the book takes us through a very similar journey but through the eyes of Gardener without the slapstick element, I now rate the book more highly than the movie

Overall,
Being There------If you enjoyed the Movie you will love this book
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This book is inspirational because you can see how a very stupid and uneducated person (more than you and me for sure) can get into power.
Rich of nice metaphors and other artifices typical of an intelligent writer.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very light and entertaining read. Difficult to compare with anything else but it does get you thinking of things you would probably always have taken for granted. Whilst the scenarios are obviously absurd, they make you wonder. The central character I am sure everyone will identify with in some way or other.
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Format: Paperback
It's a gentle book about witnesses, integrity and power. Something of the Emperor's New Clothes, this clever, sly novella pulls all of its punches to show the absurdity of modern society (well 1970's America).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book, great story, easy to read for a non-native speaker. In comparison to the film, I prefer this simple ending description of the book. Sounds more real to me than the walking on water in the film. Highly recommendable read with am important message about life.
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