Jerzy Kosinski
Grove Press, New York, 1970, 1990, English
ISBN: 9780802136343

From the Publisher. 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.

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Ian Ritchie

This short story is a wonderfully satirical view of the unreality of America’s media culture. It captured the emergence and domination of TV upon individuals and mass culture. I just about managed to read it all out loud in one go despite crying with laughter throughout. It was published in 1970, when I was writing about “leisure” and that society (families) seemed to be retreating to the living room—the TV—rather than engaging in social spaces beyond.

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