Jerzy Kosinski – Being there (1971)
There is a gardener named Chance. When the old men he works for dies, he is alone in his house. The new residents put him out of the house. But he has never seen the world. Only the house and the garden. He knows a little of the world because he’s almost always watching the television. But he can’t read and write. He has no home now and no place to go. But then a car clashes into him. The woman in the car, Mrs. Elisabeth Eve Rand feels so guilty, that she takes him to her house and lets him stay with her. Her husband, Ben Rand, is a really important person in politics, but he is sick. When he meets Chance, he is very impressed by all the things he says. But he only says what he thinks and that is the most of the time about plants. But Mr. Rand is really inspired because he thinks it is really philosophic. Mr Rand is a mighty man, he ensures that the thoughts of Chance are heard by the hole country. Everyone believes that Chance is a really special and smart person. But they give their own explanation to the simple words of Chance.
The book has a great story line. It’s unconceivable that the gardener, who is not really smart, becomes an important person in politics.
How people come to think that his statements are good, is surprising, because as reader you know he talks about his garden and the plants, and that the quotes don’t have a double meaning. The people just translate it to what is the best for themselves.
You can actually compare it with Jesus. The theory is Jesus existed and he became important in the same way Chance did. Because people influence each other, they make other believe things.
Beautiful to see is the admiration from the people for Chance, especially from Mr. and Mrs. Rand, and at the same time the innocence of Chance, who is not aware of the impact his words have on people around him.
It was beautiful to read and it was funny to see the ignorance of the people around Chance. The novel has a simple story line, not with flashbacks, sudden twists or truly dramatic events, but the story from beginning to end is surprising.