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3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  504 ratings  ·  128 reviews
"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 a...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Small Beer Press
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Community Reviews

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I was really excited to read this book, one of the newest offerings from Small Beer Press, the little publishing house run by amazing surreal-ish fantasy-ish author Kelly Link and her husband. And this is really just exactly the kind of book you'd expect them to be championing, a totally modern reality-based novel, which just also happens to have one or two overt – and many many subtle – details which couldn't strictly belong to our consensus-based reality.

Like a couch with kind of magical powe...more
This book is a lot like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, except instead of a ring you have a couch. And instead of hobbits you have a computer programmer who is allergic to wheat, a conman, and a wire bending psychic. And instead of the Shire, you have Portland. Also, not so much with the epic poetry. But other than that...
Stephanie Griffin
Sep 22, 2008 Stephanie Griffin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who love quirky writing.
Recommended to Stephanie by: Small Beer Press (yay!)
COUCH, by Benjamin Parzybok, starts out as an oddly compelling novel. Parzybok is involved with, 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. Un...more
Antonio Urias
This review and others are available on my blog.

Benjamin Parzybok's Couch follows three roommates epic quest to move their couch and save the world. Their journey takes them from Portland to the highlands of Ecuador and beyond with the ever-present, possibly malignant, couch in tow. Parzybok finds a magic in the absurdity, but never slips into outright parody. This is a story of ancient powers, mystical objects, ancient societies, and the fate of the world, that is improbably told through the m...more
May 19, 2009 L marked it as abandoned
It's not that this isn't a charming little tale with interesting, quirky characters, love, and magic. After all, what's not to like about a quest involving a couch (lead role, here), a computer geek who avoids human interaction, a fairly incompetent con man, and a third young man whose dreams may or may not foretell the future? It's just that I'm not in the mood and it's a library book. They'll want it back.
Feb 15, 2009 Jillian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jillian by: The Seattle Times
I was obsessed with the premise of this book since I read about it in the Times - three guys try to move a couch, and the couch will only allow itself to be taken in certain directions. The quest of the couch begins!

Of course, an idea this ridiculous and silly is right up my alley. The book isn't actually ridiculous though - the characters are like real people and respond in ways one would expect when confronted with a couch with a volition (incredulity, panic). But the lure of the couch is too...more
Sarah Keliher
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...more
uncorrected proofs I picked up from outside my fav bookstore. A little clunky but an interesting story so far. First book Small Beer published from the wonder how much editing/guidance the author got. A strange mix of the epic sort of mythological story, and email and technology and general strangeness. A shaggy dog tale--the journey is interesting but the ending had no pay off. Could have been great if the author had more guidance from an agent/editor. Some really interesting th...more
Dysmonia Kuiper
This one was okay. I don't mind a bit of whimsy in my books, and I can get into some fantasy novels. Couch just wasn't quite my style, I guess. It was mostly the ending. I was pretty into it the first 3/4 of the way through. It was so damn creative! I can't imagine (which is my problem) how the author came up with some of the content. So it wasn't a bad book by any means, just not for me. And as I said, I disliked the conclusion.

One of the cool aspects of the book is the three main characters ea...more
Marta Boksenbaum
This book was so fun! I love that throughout the book, the characters don't know what's going on anymore than we do. Its a fun story about three boys who end up carrying a couch from Oregon to Ecuador on a quest that they don't understand. Yet another book of pure ridiculousness, there's something super interesting about it as well. I definitely would recommend it to anyone looking for a book that will suck them in.
I thought I would hate this book. The whole time I was reading it (laughing, racing to turn the page, refusing to put it down) I felt sure the end was going to be a disappointment. But it wasn't and I'm still not sure why it felt so satisfying. If you like books that are hard to describe, this book is for you.
This hilarious and thought provoking book is one of my favorites of the year. Three guys are trying to move a couch but the couch has different ideas about where it wants to go. The story ends up traveling across the world. For fans of Quinn's Ishmael, you will love the message. I did.

I totally would love to party with these guys! An imaginitive and surprisingly soulful book. Worth a look or two. Makes you think of couches a bit differently....
This is an entertaining if somewhat uneven first novel from Parzybok. The opening makes you think this will be a story of three slacker roommates who set out on a sort of quirky adventure together and develop a bond and friendship blah blah blah stop me if you've heard this before. Not that there's anything wrong with that, and based on the cover art and blurb on the back, it's sort of what I expected.

Where this book gets really interesting is in the middle section, which is bizarre and well wri...more
Kallen Kentner
How to describe the book? Well, you open the front cover and see under the ISBN number:

1. Roommates- Oregon - Portland- Fiction. 2. Sofas- Fiction. 3. Voyages and travels- Fiction. 4. Self-actualization (Psychology)- Fiction.I.Title.

Honestly, that's as far as I can really explain it.
I was going to rate this a 3, but after thinking about it, I upgraded to a four. Just like Foreign films test my preconceptions of what a movie should be like, this book broke the boundaries of novels, or at least o...more
One thing stopped me, and one thing only, from assigning a five-star rating to this book: Author Benjamin Parzybok seemed to run out of steam at the very end and wrapped up the story quite abruptly.

That said, I almost didn't care, because the rest of the story was such a fabulously funny, wild and delicious romp through fantasy or magical realism (or whatever you want to call it) that almost anything else could be forgiven.

I mean, picture it: Three unemployed young guys, not a one of them with t...more
I came across this title when browsing the "New Releases" section. I read the summary and thought it sounded really different and original. I downloaded it and dove right in.

The first thing to strike me was the strange way the narrator was speaking. He has a really strange way of stressing random words, and it makes it very difficult to understand what he's saying. I had to back up several times in the beginning to make out the words. There were several times I honestly thought it was computer g...more
Have heard this book described as unique – which it is, though also quite a bit like The Lord of the Rings, only with “real” people and places. And, uh, shorter!! Have heard it described as funny, hilarious, even “rollicking”, and “gentle”. Which it isn’t! Overall this is an uneven book. It starts off funny and gentle, with our three slacker heroes from Portland (plus points for this!) going on an unintended journey with an orange couch. Then it becomes annoyingly incomprehensible, then scary, t...more
Kressel Housman
The concept behind this book is as absurd as anything I've ever come across, so most of it was a really fun escape, though it turned suspenseful and a bit dark at the end. Apparently, it's sort of a humorous nod to The Lord of the Rings, except that the magical item here is a couch, not a ring. I've never read The Lord of the Rings, so to me it was closer to Three Men in a Boat with its three bumbling heroes on a journey. Tree, the youngest, grew up on a commune and is the visionary and true bel...more
Donwloaded audio by Iambik for review

Listened 1/9/12 - 1/27/12
3.5 Stars - Strongly Recommended to readers who like a little bizarro mixed into their fiction
Audio download (approx 11hrs)
Publisher: Iambik Audio / Small Beer Press

This was a book that had been sitting on my goodreads to-buy shelf for over a year, so I was thrilled to see it on Iambik Audio's website. I immediately downloaded a review copy on my Droid, and started listening on my commute to and from work.

First thing worth noting: Cou...more
Three buddies on a quest float from Portland, Oregon to the cloud forests of Ecuador. The buddies include a Mystic, a Rebel and Everyman.
Everyman is an over-sized, unemployed computer genius whose girlfriend has dumped him. His name is Thom and he doubts himself.
The Rebel is an underdeveloped character who flanks Thom along with the Mystic.
The Mystic, named Tree, is a skinny hippie with ESP.
If you can suspend disbelief for The Davinci Code you can suspend it for this novel. I would like to...more
Joseph Chinnock
Three roommates serendipitously find themselves on a quest that began when the moved their couch. Unable to stop moving it, they discover their couch is the original seat of evil and it must be taken to a place where its power can be contained for the good of humanity.
The story moves from the ordinary (guys moving their couch) into the fantastical (the couch as a source of evil) bringing the reader delightfully out of their mind. The premise itself is wonderfully creative and the story is nicely...more
Larry Hoffer
This book had me from the cover. I love books that mix fiction with a little bit of magic (suggestion: read one of my favorite books of all time, Fool on the Hill by Matt Ruff) and "Couch" was a terrific read. What an improbable story: three unemployed and temporarily homeless roommates set off on an epic adventure, armed with a few possessions and what appears to be a magical couch. Don't let the description fool you: this is an entertaining, thought-provoking and sometimes heartbreaking book.

I don't even know where to start with this book so I'll simply say: It's fantastic.

Admittedly it took me longer than I expected to get into it and the first couple chapters I felt like I was waiting for something amazing to happen but the characters are well crafted and appealing. They talk like frat boys in Portland and have their designated character niches that made the story seem plausible.

(view spoiler)...more
I picked this book up at Powell's in Portland knowing nothing about it except that it had a staff recommendation sticker and sounded interesting. I am glad I did because it was very surprising and I really liked it.

Couch is a quick read that really holds your attention. It had a lot to say about Western culture regarding laziness, greed, and things that have been lost from society. I liked the metaphors and references Parzybok often used, though once or twice I felt as though he went a bit over...more
My devotion to Justine is leading me to comment on some books. Plus I'm in Econ and it's really really boring. I really wanted to like this book, and for most of the book I did. Its premise is totally original, and it asks some deep philosophical questions without waxing annoyingly philosophical; however, the ending is just plain disappointing. It's one of those endings that I actually had to read several times just because it was so uninspiring. It felt like the author started writing without a...more
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 cha...more
This gem of a book may seem a bit bizarre when you read the jacket blurb, but trust me, you'll fall right into it. The laughs out loud it provided me with made it a winner. These 3 guys, I can't call them friends because they really just met, find themselves on a kooky journey to return an oddly behaving giant orange couch to it's rightful spot in the universe. Their travails & ultimately their bonding make for a great read. I never wanted it to end. It's one of Scott Pack's goodies. He writ...more
this is a hilarious story that makes you think about your place in the world. the premis is 3 guys: your commune raised hippy guy named "tree," your pretty boy con man "erik," and the slightly tubby really tall computer nerd guy "thom" all move into an apartment together and life seems to be falling apart all around them. then one night the waterbed upstairs springs a major leak ruining the building forcing them to move out, but they must get rid of the couch that came with the place.... the cou...more
I truly adored this book. Sometimes it got a little slow, but didn't fail to pique my interest again soon. I love the idea, kind of a LotR with a couch instead, and the end impressed me with its creativity. I look forward to other books by Ben Parzybok.
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