Boekverslag : Jerzy Kosinski - Being There
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Being There


'Being There' is written by Jerzy Kosinski. Kosinski was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1933 and died in 1991. He grew up in the Nazi Holocaust in a Polish-Jewish family. Although he managed to build up a relatively comfortable life under Communism as a university professor, Kosinski fled the country in 1957. Within half a year of his immigration to the United States he taught himself English. He continued his academic training at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research and started a career in academe, eventually holding such posts as Professor of English Prose and Criticism at the Yale School of Drama. Kosinski's first novel, 'The painted bird', appeared in 1965 and won him immediate international fame. His powerful and bitter first novel is a nightmarish depiction of childhood during World War II, which reflects the years he spent hiding from the Nazis in the Polish countryside. It's sequel 'Steps' for which he won a 1969 National Book Award, is in a similar vein. Jerzy Kosinski's sardonic humour and grim pessimism were also evident in such later novels as 'The Devil Tree', 'Blind Date' and 'Pinball'.


'Being There' was first published in 1970 and the copyright is by Jerzy Kosinski. It contains 76 pages. The story takes place in the United States in the seventies.

The story is told chronologically and sometimes there are flash-backs.


There are three main characters in 'Being There'.

#Chance (Chancey Gardener): He is more an outcast. An orphan without an identity, oddity and vulnerability arouse wonder and respect. He is an isolated and lonely human being. Chance is a man without a traceable identity, he has no relatives, no job or hobbies other than gardening and watching TV, he has no education (he cannot read or write), has no possessions, no insurances, no bank accounts, no birth certificate, no passport, and, to make things worse, no brain to speak of, either. The only person who might know something about Chance's background is the man in whose house Chance lived for as long as he can remember, but this man dies in the first chapter of the novel and takes the secret with him into his grave. From that moment he has to leave the house but he set never a foot outside the house.

#Elizabeth Eve (EE): She's the wife of Benjamin Rand and loves him very much, but at the end of the novel she wants that Chance takes in the place of Rand. She thinks he is a wonderful person and a very important man.

#Benjamin Rand: He's the husband of Elizabeth Eve and is very ill and old. He is very important, but he is dying, so he wants that Chance continues his work. Rand also thinks he is a very important man. He doesn't know that Elizabeth is in love with Chance.


Because of an accident Chance meets Elizabeth Eve and Benjamin Rand. Rand introduces him to the president. The president and Rand talk about business and Chance doesn't understand anything. When the president asks what his opinion is, replies Chance: 'In a garden, growth has its season. 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.' The president thinks it is magnificent and uses it in his speech. >From that moment Chance is getting important. On a TV-show he says: 'In a garden, things grow...but first, they must wither; trees have to lose their leaves in order to put forth new leaves, and to grow thicker and stronger and taller. Some trees die, but fresh saplings replace them. Gardens need a lot of care. But if you love your garden, you don't mind working in it, and waiting. Then in the proper season you will surely see it flourish.' And now everybody thinks he is going to save the economy. Chance will be very important in the future.

Reading experience

I found the book in a sort of catalogue of Wolters-Noordhoff. I decided to read it because it was the book with the least pages. I expected a very boring book, because there was a sentence on the back, which was boring. My expectation came true, 'Being There' is told in such a sad way. I didn't fell anything while reading the book and finishing it.

The book can't be realistic, because an idiot can't save the nation by talking about gardens. You can't compare it with other books. It is unique because it has the stupidest character ever (the natural born loser).

There wasn't any part in the book that impressed me because all the parts are stupid. All the aspects of the book are unsuccessful. I wouldn't advise others to read the book, because it isn't interesting at all. But on the other side it has also 76 pages.
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