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Couch by Benjamin Parzybok
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
It won me over. Couch starts off as a typically Northwestern tale of woe: three underemployed guys - a laid-off programmer, a fey pie-baking hippie boy, and a smooth-talking con artist - share a dismal Portland apartment, down on their luck and starting to feel desperation creeping in around the edges. When they are forced out of their den of lethargy by a flood, they discover that their perniciously comfortable couch may, in fact, be evil, and certainly possesses a mind of its own. As they try to figure out what exactly the couch wants, they are drawn into an epic road trip involving secret societies, hobos, lost civilizations, space aliens, drunken fishermen, revolutionaries, and girls, lugging the couch the whole way. Awesomely ridiculous and strangely profound, a thoroughly worthwhile read. ( )
  paperloverevolution | Mar 30, 2013 |
A hacker, a con-artist, and a commune-grown clairvoyant walk into the Ecuadorian jungle with a magic couch under their arms... Ben Parzybok's debut is a funny, magic, quest story [ full review ] ( )
  markflanagan | Jul 21, 2010 |
Parzybok's debut novel starts as an offbeat and humorous story about three young men, somewhat in the slacker line, who are having a bad day as their apartment is flooded and the local thrift centers refuse to take their old couch. The book remains offbeat to the end and humor continues to well up at regular intervals, but the overall story gradually morphs into a mythic tale as the roommates realize that there is somewhere that the couch needs to be taken. Their simple trip to Goodwill becomes a journey around the world, full of adventure and self discovery.

I really enjoyed the author's language and writing style. They made up for a few holes in the story line and a few awkward moments. I'm not sure if I'd call this book fantasy or magical realism, but it's definitely the type of thing one might expect from Small Beer Press. Recommended. ( )
1 vote TadAD | Apr 9, 2010 |
Three Portland, Oregon slackers lose their apartment, jobs and everything they own except a bright orange couch. It's no ordinary couch, however; it seems to have a will of its own. Soon the roommates are hauling the couch where IT wants to go. Who knew furniture had a destiny? Laugh-out-loud funny with a bittersweet ending. ( )
  fig2 | Feb 13, 2010 |
Three roomates loose their apartment when a waterbed on an upper floor floods everything below it. They're forced to move out, and to take the odd orange couch with them. They quickly realize they're unable to get rid of the couch, and then strangers try to buy it for outlandish sums, or take it by force, and the roomates end up on a quest. They don't know where they're going until they get there, and they don't know why, but it definitely involves the magical, possibly evil, orange couch.

This novel walks the line between humor and philosophy. The events in the story tend toward the engaging and amusing, but only one description actually made me laugh. Most of the time it's a wry, wink-wink sensibility, and the reader is left with trying to catalogue the numerous little references slung hither and fro. Although the book's tone doesn't change, by the end, it's become mired deep into current popular philosophy--leaving me feeling rather more like I just spent a couple hours with the smartest teenage geeks I knew where they were deliberately trying to mind-twist everything just for fun, and maybe because they hope their outlandish concepts could be true--but it leaves a slightly sour-milk taste because you can't really stand that kind of brain-teasing for long.

The author also seemed to like to seriously imperil his main characters, and half the time the tone of the book made you think nothing bad was going to happen. Then later the reader is somewhat betrayed by this tone.

A last observation: early on in the book, one of the characters makes a pie. A gluten-free pie. But even with the pie making carrying on several pages, the reader never finds out what *kind* of pie it is. (Apple? Cherry? Quiche?) And that's like this book. It's a pie, but you never can figure out exactly what sort. ( )
  doxtator | Oct 22, 2009 |
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From above, from a thousand feet up, an eagle's-eye view, it's a strange spectacle still.
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An exuberant and hilarious debut in which an episode of furniture moving gone awry becomes an impromptu quest of self-discovery, secret histories, and unexpected revelations. Thom is a computer geek whose hacking of a certain Washington-based software giant has won him a little fame but few job prospects. Erik is a smalltime con man, a fast-talker who is never quite quick enough on his feet. Their roommate, Tree, is a confused clairvoyant whose dreams and prophecies may not be completely off base. After a freak accident fl oods their apartment, the three are evicted-but they have to take their couch with them. The real problem? The couch-huge and orange-won't let them put it down. Soon the three roommates are on a cross-country trek along back roads, byways, and rail lines, heading far out of Portland and deep into one very weird corner of the American dream.
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An exuberant and hilarious debut in which an episode of furniture moving gone awry becomes an impromptu quest of self-discovery, secret histories, and unexpected revelations. Thom is a computer geek whose hacking of a certain Washington-based software giant has won him a little fame but few job prospects. Erik is a smalltime con man, a fast-talker who is never quite quick enough on his feet. Their roommate, Tree, is a confused clairvoyant whose dreams and prophecies may not be completely off base. After a freak accident floods their apartment, the three are evicted-but they have to take their couch with them. The real problem? The couch-huge and orange-won't let them put it down. Soon the three roommates are on a cross-country trek along back roads, byways, and rail lines, heading far out of Portland and deep into one very weird corner of the American dream.… (more)

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