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on 28 August 2015
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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on 13 July 2014
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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on 1 August 2016
A modern bittersweet fable. I read it in 90 mins. Beautiful. Thats it.
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on 12 June 2017
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on 11 October 2015
I have a copy of this book, I have a copy of the film. I bought the kindle edition so I can have it with me while traveling. Good book, good life story.
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on 17 May 2012
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

Being There------If you enjoyed the Movie you will love this book
3 people found this helpful
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on 27 September 2012
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.
One person found this helpful
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on 5 September 2013
Unfortunately, the writer didn't seem to take his time finishing and polishing his story, which is full of potential and very interesting in places. Fortunately, Kosinski wrote the screenplay, elaborating on ideas that were only nascent in the book. Worth a read, but the film (starring Peter Sellers!) is much better and more complete.
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on 25 February 2016
Great story. I couldn't stop reading it.
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on 8 May 2017
Eons ago I stopped reading his 1965 WW II novel “The Painted Bird” for being a mix of truth and fantasy, mostly fantasy. Years later, Mr. Kosinski was attacked in US media about the veracity of his writings. Perhaps to dispel doubts about truth and fantasy, he wrote this influential, sarcastic 1970 fantasy novel about a zero becoming a hero in the US.
Chance is the name of the gardener of a NY mansion surrounded by high walls. He has lived there forever. Early on described as mentally defective, he is illiterate but has been kept well-fed and –clothed by a maid. Watching TV in his room informs him about the world outside. He has no official papers nor a record of existence anywhere when his benefactor, the Old Man dies at age 97. Soon, lawyers probe into his status, then become threatening. Chance packs a suitcase, moves out of his walled garden and is almost immediately hit by a car, putting himself, again and miraculously, into the care of someone else...
How this fantasy proceeds is for readers to discover and enthuse about, or not.
Found what followed increasingly annoying re JK’s nasty, insidious tone and Chance’s simple messages about gardening gaining political track. Were Americans really that stupid? Probably, given the latest presidential election. The film version of this book starring Peter Sellers as Chance, is judged by many to be superior to this original book version.
One person found this helpful
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