Boekverslag : Jerzy Kosinski - Being There
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Being There

1st Publication



Science Fiction, Novel


A men who only spend his time on his garden and watch television gets contacts with VIPworld


Cance has lives his whole life in a big house where he takes care about the garden and spent his time watching television. When the owner of the building dies 2 accounters tell Chance there's no record of him living and working there (though Chance spent his life in the building since he lost his parents and the Oldman takes care of him). Anyway, the next day the building will be closed and Chance has to move. The next day while Chance is walking along the street with his suitcase he gets an accident with limousine. The woman of the limousine is very concerned about Chance and want him to go with her home where are many doctors to take care of her sick husband. The woman introduced herself to Chance as Mrs. Benjamin Rand (otherwise EE (Elizabeth Eve)). Chance called himself Chance the Gardener but EE calls him Chauncey Gardiner. Chance only got a light leginjuring which heals by rest (until Chance is completely recovered he stays by the Rands. Mr. Rand is a very well-known businessman (America's number 1). The next day he calls Chance because he wants his company when the President of the USA will visit him that afternoon. The President and rand are talking all about economics something Chance never learnt (he never ever visited school and can't read or write) when Rand asks Chance opinion Chance starts talking about his garden where must be place to grow and so there must be in the economy (now the President and Rand think he's a very successfull businessman and Rand wants Chance to take his place when he might die soon). The President is very impressed by Chance and uses that sentence in his speech next day that evening Chance got his first TV performance in "the evening''. Although Chance doesn't know anything about economics he knows how to behave himself on TV (because he watch it many times home). Chance tells again about his garden and the next morning serveral newspaper from all over the world call to invite him for an interview but Chance refuses them all. Chance becomes his own secretary. The next night there will be an United Nation fete and EE really has to be there because she's the chairman of it but because of her husband illness she takes Chance with her. Chance meets many VIPs who all are telling him how much they admire him because of his performance on TV last evening. He meets Skrapinov (a Russian friend of EE who's working for Russia in the USA), Skrapinov starts telling about the Russian literature but Chance doesn't understand anything about it so when Skrapinov asks for his opnion he only smiles or says "yes". Because of that Skrapinov thinks Chance knows the Russian literature even in Russian (which makes EE and Rand think he's a very educated man). When EE and Chance are up to leave thy're surrounded by journalists which are asking Chance all sorts of questions of the speech of the Presidents which has appeared in serveral newspapers. Chance only tells him he doesn't read any newspapers and only watch television (which makes him even more admired by the other businessmen and EE). After the United Nation fete the President and Skrapinov want a report about Chance (about his background). Because Chance has no social background (he has lived his whole life into the house taking care about the garden and never been out or educated) Chance becomes a place on the lists of spies. Still the same night EE and Chance go to a dinner aprty of one of EE her friends. There Chance meets a man who talking to him in a way he doesn't understand so he keep on smiling and says "yes" when the man asks him if they should go upstairs than Chance doesn't know what to do and follows him. Upstairs the man starts making love to Chance but Chance doesn't know what he's doing (they never told him in the house he has lived when he was a child), when the man's asleep Chance goes back downstairs. When EE asks him where he has been he tells her he was upstairs with a man who falled ill (EE tells Chance she admires him so much because of his social help). That night home EE comes to Chance his bedroom and tells him how much she loves him and starts amking love to him. Chance don't know what to do so he let her go on. EE starts crying because she think Chance doesn't love her because he's keeping quiet (but Chance really got no idea what to do). Chance tells her he just likes to watch her. The next day on another party Chance moves himself to the garden where he feels fine and doesn't have to think about anything..


  • Chance: honest, quiet, carefull, serious, not afraid of what's to come
  • EE: carefull, worrying, serious, begging for Chance his attention
  • Rand: serious, worrying (which he hides with humour), kind, honest
  • Skrapinov: kind, intelligent, serious, doubtfull
  • The President: kind, intelligent, quiet

Style of writing

The story is seen by Chance which makes some happenings in the book not quite clear because Chance doesn't understand them himself. You can't really read the feelings or thoughts of Chance because he doesn't talk or think about them (only in plights you can read how he's thinking what to do or to say.


Funny, easy reading story. It's funny how to read that some one quite common without his own permission gets contact with important people who are too blind to see that he doesn't know any thing at all though he's telling he can't.

About Jerzy Kosinski

JK has thaught English at Wesleyan, Princeton, and Yale universities. For his screen adaptation of his novel Being There he won the best Screenplay of the Year Award from both of the Writers Guild of America and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. An avid polo player, skier and photographer, Jerzy Kosinski, travels in the USA and Europe

Other books by Jerzy Kosinski

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