After the literal horror of The Painted Bird and the inchoate horror of Steps, this is a seriocomic cryptofable, a commentary on 'being there' or rather not being at all, in which passivity is perhaps a kindlier fate than participation. The non-hero, non-entity is Chance who has spent many years walled off from the world gardening or watching television. When forced out, he permits himself to be programmed from one experience to another. He becomes the protege of people in high places; his few simple remarks are assumed to be momentous as well as prophetic re the state of the nation; a foolinnocent, he only watches as he always has and thus remains unspoiled and walks away from the contamination-corruption of others to contempler son jardin in serenity. Mr. Kosinski's quizzically amused and amusing small story rebukes here, affirms there, and exposes, just as blatantly as a commercial, the styrofoam composition of our society. As an envoi, who could say it any more persuasively than Mr. Kosinski's Russian writer: "One could make this fable clearer still: but let us not provoke the geese."