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19612138,448 (3.45)8
"Couch hits on an improbable, even fantastic premise, and then rigorously hews to the logic that it generates, keeping it afloat (at times literally) to the end." --Los Angeles Times "Delightfully lighthearted writing. . . . Occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, the enthusiastic prose carries readers through sporadic dark moments . . . Parzybok''s quirky humor recalls the flaws and successes of early Douglas Adams."--Publishers Weekly "The book succeeds as a conceptual art piece, a literary travelogue, and a fantastical quest." --Willamette Week "Hundreds of writers have slavishly imitated--or outright ripped off--Tolkien in ways that connoisseurs of other genres would consider shameless. What Parzybok has done here in adapting the same old song to a world more familiar to the reader is to revive the genre and make it relevant again" --The Stranger A Spring Summer Indie Next Reading List Pick: Top 10 Reading Group Suggestions "Couch follows the quirky journey of Thom, Erik, and Tree as they venture into the unknown at the behest of a magical, orange couch, which has its own plan for their previously boring lives. Parzybok''s colorful characters, striking humor, and eccentric magical realism offer up an adventuresome read." --Christian Crider, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL A January 2009 Indie Next List Pick "This funny novel of furniture moving gone awry is a magical realism quest for modern times. Parzybok''s touching story explores the aimlessness of our culture, a society of jobs instead of callings, replete with opportunities and choices but without the philosophies and vocations we need to make meaningful decisions." --Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA "A lot of people are looking for magic in the world today, but only Benjamin Parzybok thought to check the sofa, which is, I think, the place it''s most likely to be found.Couch is a slacker epic: a gentle, funny book that ambles merrily from Coupland to Tolkien, and gives couch-surfing (among other things) a whole new meaning." --Paul La Farge "One of the strangest road novels you''ll ever read. It''s a funny and fun book, and it''s also a very smart book. Fans of Tom Robbins or Christopher Moore should enjoy this." --Handee Books "It is an upholstered Odyssey unlike any other you are likely to read. It is funny, confusing in places, wild and anarchic. It is part Quixote, part Murakami, part Tom Robbins, part DFS showroom. It has cult hit written all over it." --Scott,Me and My Big Mouth Benjamin Parzybokon tour: http://booktour.com/author/benjamin_parzybok In this exuberant and hilarious debut reminiscent ofThe Life of Pi andThen We Came to the End, 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. Benjamin Parzybok is the creator ofGumball Poetry, a journal published through gumball machines, and the Black Magic Insurance Agency, a city-wide mystery/treasure hunt. He has worked as a congressional page, a ghostwriter for the governor of Washington, a web developer, a Taiwanese factory technical writer, an asbestos removal janitor, and a potato sorter. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with the writer Laura Moulton and their two children.… (more)
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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I'm sorry to shit all over small indie novelists and all, but I'm pretty sure this was the most obnoxiously self-conscious and just plain dumb book I've ever read. Sorry, Ben, but no one cares that you know who Neutral Milk Hotel and Halldor Laxness are. ( )
  twharring | Aug 29, 2021 |
So different from other things I've been reading. Feels like very much a book for my generation. Amusing, creepy, profound, sweet. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
This book was such a joy to read. It was unlike anything else I have ever read. I’m not much of a person to read about quests, but this tale of three roommates who felt compelled to take their orange couch to its ultimate destination was so quirky, creative, and funny.

The story began when those three roommates, who did not know each other before and who were vastly different from each other, tried to get rid of their couch after a flood in their apartment caused by the leakage of an upstairs water bed. However, the couch had other ideas! By its weight and through some sort of reckoning by the hippie-like roommate Tree, the couch pressured the other two roommates, Thom and Erik, into having the three return it to its predestined spot.

If this sounds absurd, it is. However this is a rollicking good story and so delightful to read. The end of the book was riveting. As I got closer to the conclusion, I felt myself reading faster and faster. My only regret about this book at all is that I waited so long to read it. What an incredible debut novel it was! ( )
  SqueakyChu | Aug 3, 2021 |
COUCH, by Benjamin Parzybok, starts out as an oddly compelling novel. Parzybok is involved with www.ideacog.net, which has lots of cool stuff you should check out. After you read this review.
The couch in question may or may not be somehow magical. Three roommates in Portland, Oregon (in my own neighborhood, no less!) need to dispose of the couch. In bizarro fashion, they end up carrying it down 23rd Avenue, and to points beyond. In fact, VERY beyond.
The writing is somewhat brilliant at times. Unfortunately, I can’t quote anything, because the book hasn’t been released yet (Pub date is November 2008). There are great descriptions and interesting facts scattered throughout.
Two thirds of the way into the novel, the tone shifts from humorous to serious. I really loved the first part, but without giving anything away, I can see why the last part was needed.
This novel made me think, laugh, cringe, and question. It doesn’t get much better than that in what I look for in a book! Highly recommended!
~Stephanie ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
Couch strikes me as a book written by Parzybok not because he had a message he wanted to let people know about, or had a story to tell, but because he likes the idea of being an author and writing books is what you have to do to hold that job. There's a hodgepodge of stuff thrown together here, with little resolution and even less thematic coherence. I had originally used the word "ideas" in the place of "stuff" in my last sentence, but I had to make the replacement because despite a bevy of characters, settings, and events being thrown into this book there are few instances where the book makes you think. The writing is competent, even though it is completely devoid of soul or depth, so it gets two stars instead of one. ( )
  BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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Dedication
First words
From above, from a thousand feet up, an eagle's-eye view, it's a strange spectacle still.i
Quotations
His hair stood out at angles like the sweeping end of an abused broom.
...his nose projected from his face like a geometry problem 
gone awry.
It’s often difficult to distinguish among the things that motivate 
us. Even as we attribute them to external factors, they may be 
our own.
They’ve even talked about the way a couch orients you. It prohibits interaction, because it faces people in a single direction. It’s a seat that encourages passivity.
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"Couch hits on an improbable, even fantastic premise, and then rigorously hews to the logic that it generates, keeping it afloat (at times literally) to the end." --Los Angeles Times "Delightfully lighthearted writing. . . . Occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, the enthusiastic prose carries readers through sporadic dark moments . . . Parzybok''s quirky humor recalls the flaws and successes of early Douglas Adams."--Publishers Weekly "The book succeeds as a conceptual art piece, a literary travelogue, and a fantastical quest." --Willamette Week "Hundreds of writers have slavishly imitated--or outright ripped off--Tolkien in ways that connoisseurs of other genres would consider shameless. What Parzybok has done here in adapting the same old song to a world more familiar to the reader is to revive the genre and make it relevant again" --The Stranger A Spring Summer Indie Next Reading List Pick: Top 10 Reading Group Suggestions "Couch follows the quirky journey of Thom, Erik, and Tree as they venture into the unknown at the behest of a magical, orange couch, which has its own plan for their previously boring lives. Parzybok''s colorful characters, striking humor, and eccentric magical realism offer up an adventuresome read." --Christian Crider, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL A January 2009 Indie Next List Pick "This funny novel of furniture moving gone awry is a magical realism quest for modern times. Parzybok''s touching story explores the aimlessness of our culture, a society of jobs instead of callings, replete with opportunities and choices but without the philosophies and vocations we need to make meaningful decisions." --Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA "A lot of people are looking for magic in the world today, but only Benjamin Parzybok thought to check the sofa, which is, I think, the place it''s most likely to be found.Couch is a slacker epic: a gentle, funny book that ambles merrily from Coupland to Tolkien, and gives couch-surfing (among other things) a whole new meaning." --Paul La Farge "One of the strangest road novels you''ll ever read. It''s a funny and fun book, and it''s also a very smart book. Fans of Tom Robbins or Christopher Moore should enjoy this." --Handee Books "It is an upholstered Odyssey unlike any other you are likely to read. It is funny, confusing in places, wild and anarchic. It is part Quixote, part Murakami, part Tom Robbins, part DFS showroom. It has cult hit written all over it." --Scott,Me and My Big Mouth Benjamin Parzybokon tour: http://booktour.com/author/benjamin_parzybok In this exuberant and hilarious debut reminiscent ofThe Life of Pi andThen We Came to the End, 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. Benjamin Parzybok is the creator ofGumball Poetry, a journal published through gumball machines, and the Black Magic Insurance Agency, a city-wide mystery/treasure hunt. He has worked as a congressional page, a ghostwriter for the governor of Washington, a web developer, a Taiwanese factory technical writer, an asbestos removal janitor, and a potato sorter. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with the writer Laura Moulton and their two children.

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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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