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Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  769 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Flying Couch, Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming-of-age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile. Captivated by Bubbe’s story, Amy turns to her sketchbooks, ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Black Balloon Publishing an imprint of Catapult
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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Elyse  Walters
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve developed a soft spot for graphic memoirs.

‘Flying Couch’ is a moving debut...
In part, it’s a type of ‘coming-of-age’ story for Amy. It also about the value of family stories - powerful family history - and how the Holocaust affected Amy, her mother, and grandmother — individually, and their relationships together.

Amy Kurzweil is the author and Artist. Her mother, Sonya, is a therapist. Bubbe, Amy’s grandmother escaped from the Warsaw ghetto.

This is a very Jewish family story. It’s
When my children grew up, they didn't know my stories but they were all very sort of sad. Why don't I have an uncle, they say. Why don't I have cousins? Why don't I have grandparents? Why? Why? I said, I'm sorry, if I could buy you an uncle I would buy you an uncle.

Kurzweil's graphic novel tells the tale of three generations of women.

Most involving is the story of the author's grandmother, her Bubbe, Lily Fenster. Her story is told in her own words, broken English, and all. (The voice of Reizl
Julie Ehlers
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The reviews for Flying Couch seem lukewarm, so I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed it. This memoir-in-comics is purportedly a tale of three generations of women: Amy Kurzweil, her mother Sonya, and her grandmother Lily. Lily's sections, which involve her escape from the Warsaw ghetto and the years she spent pretending to be Catholic during WWII, are by far the most fascinating, but I also enjoyed Amy's sections about her attempt to establish her own identity, both as an artist and simply ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
3 stars

Not the best graphic novel I have read. It was geared toward 3 generations of women in the same family. However, there were times that I could not make sense of what was being told, not in story form or as an individual page in time. I know this book was an explanation of the authors personal story, both current and her families past, however for me it was very hard to follow and understand. Whereas other sections made sense and were easy to follow.

I will say that the graphic artistry
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
How I came to this book, a graphic novel of a three generations of women who descended from a Holocaust survivor in Poland, was interesting. I recently attended a talk of three local psychologists who are children of Holocaust survivors, and they each spoke about what those experiences were/are like, and how to look at potential resiliencies from such abhorrent and unimaginable trauma and loss. This one woman, her mother is 94 and still living. Her daughter Amy is an artist, and took her ...more
This autobiographical graphic novel reminded me very much in style and tone of Alison Bechdel’s work, especially Are You My Mother? It delves into Kurzweil’s grandmother Bubbe’s early life and escape from the Warsaw ghetto. Less compelling is the story of how Kurzweil tried to reclaim her Jewish identity during college even though her family was largely non-practicing. She then moved to Brooklyn and attempted to piece together a living through various arts-based jobs, most of them working with ...more
Rod Brown
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Too sloppy, unstructured and all over the place for my taste, both in story and art. Just when I'd start to get interested in a section it would abruptly end and the story would go flying off in a whole different direction, never to return, leaving me unsatisfied. I don't feel the stories of the grandmother, mother and daughter were interwoven well enough to gel into a singular work. I'd have preferred separate volumes about the daughter and grandmother with stronger focus on each. (The mother ...more
Flying Couch, by Amy Kurzweil, Oct. 2016

Kurzweil's graphic memoir is a moving tribute to the two most important women in her life: her mother and her maternal grandmother. Kurzweil’s grandmother was a blond 13 year old in 1939, and she survived the holocaust by posing as a Christian when her family was forced into the concentration camps. “Humor is mortar. It binds the bridge between the real and the unimaginable, between all we’ve lost…and what we can’t get rid of.” Kurzweil use of humor flows
Stewart Tame
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amy's grandmother survived as a Jew in Nazi Germany. In this book, Amy tells her grandmother's story, as well as her own about the process of writing it and graduating from college. It appears that an earlier version of this book--or earlier excerpts from it--was a graduation project, because there are scenes of her mother and grandmother reading "Hovering Armchair: A Trialectic of Self, Identity, and Post-Post-Memory in the Twenty-First Century Jew (American) An Illustrated Reflection," and ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This autobiographical graphic novel, tells the tale of three generations of women, including the author. The stand-out here is the author's grandmother, was able to escape from a concentration camp as a young girl and survives the war on her own daring and wits. Plus, she is such a hoot and a free spirit, as an aged woman, telling her story. This is a wonderful family memoir- funny, sad, insightful and nicely illustrated.
The author is the daughter of a famous therapist.
This is a meld of her own coming of age memoir with her grandmother's WWII story. The drawing is a little scrawly for my taste, but I liked her experimentation and variety of page layouts. She has a couple of great maps and room layouts. It's pretty thick, but there are plenty of pages with few to no words.

Not especially memorable beyond the author's famous mother.
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book! The New York Times recently recommended FLYING COUCH as one of the season's best graphic novels. Kirkus Reviews called it “a debut that enriches and extends the potential of graphic narrative” (it got a Kirkus star, a good indication of a great book).

It's all true. But that doesn't tell you just how funny this book is!!

Digging deep into her family’s immigrant roots, Kurzweil's young narrator explores a question we all face: what it means to discover identity, and then what
Kristina (msbunnyears)
I really wanted to like this. I'm sad I didn't.
I think the premise of having a memoir about a family of jews would be an important topic, but it just wasn't executed well.
For example, there were tiny arrows pointing to something or little-written notes during the whole story that wasn't important and was just distractions.
The story also didn't have any general direction. The direction was everywhere as if the author was unsure of where she wanted the topic and story to go.
I also didn't like
Karen Barber
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
In spite of emailing the publicist, I have only received an excerpt from this memoir so my rating is based on a small part of this book.
From what I've seen this is an exciting way of telling the story of the Holocaust from a clear personal experience. The images have a simplistic quality, but they blend well with the text. Sometimes graphic, sometimes touching, but always these images are honest.
It looks like I'll have to wait for the complete experience, but it is one to read.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love memoirs and this is my first graphic one. It's a story of three women, three generations starting with Bubba, the grandmother who "survived from Hitler". I loved this line.. "Now my children, they understand. They ask me, how was your heart and you never cried? They say, you never told us. Now they don't ask so much because they know. But I love to talk. So much time I spent alone, in a prison with myself, holding on to a secret like a bomb, then keeping inside more memories and pain like ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"I wonder about roots. I wonder if shorter roots are thicker roots. Thicker roots have more knots and gnarls," writes Amy Kurzweil, the voice of three generations of Jewish women: herself, her mother, and her bubbe in Flying Couch.

Part graphic novel, part memoir, Kurzweil plunks us into her history, illuminating the looming female figures of her child and young adult hoods with equal clarity and restraint. Hers is a sparse narrative, turning it over to dialogue and bold frames of art as
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Flying Couch focuses on the stories of 3 women in one family -- the author and her coming of age, her mother -- a psychologist that focuses on women and children, and her grandmother -- a survivor of WWII who escaped the Warsaw ghetto and pretended to be a gentile to avoid detainment and the camps. Each of the stories is interesting in it's own right, particularly the grandmother and Kurzweil looks at issues of identity and how the experiences of each generation influenced the next. At times, ...more
Maggie Gordon
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Ehhh... there's some powerful stories embedded in this memoir by Kurzweil, but the narrative is a confusing mess. I would have preferred seeing stronger ties between the different generations of women given that was meant to be the heart of this book. Less scattered art would have also helped, and a more structured story. Bubba's story is obviously strongest, but I was rather sad that the mother was almost entirely neglected.
Medeia Sharif
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't connect to the story until about a quarter way into it. Once I settled into its rhythm, I enjoyed the author's perspectives, the roles of her mother and grandmother in her life, and where she was headed in the future. I also appreciated the graphic memoir format.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story was so wonderful. Granted, I am incredibly biased. I am addicted to graphic memoirs and will enjoy them no matter what because of how much I enjoy that style of storytelling. This one was especially good.

I loved the little details. All of the maps and routes and floorplans (especially of Amy's childhood home) were charming. I will need to add the books from her many bookshelves to my TBR!
Oct 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was kinda scattered in that it was all over the place. Honestly not for me.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
3.5* I didn’t love it; I didn’t hate it.

It’s nice to see people break the mold when it comes to creating memoirs. Also, I like her illustration style: far from perfect; childlike. It worked!
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
A holocaust memoir, the artist tells her grandmother's story mixed with her own and some of her mom's. An interesting telling and the grandmother is quite a character in modern day.
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
This had some great content, but I didn’t love some of the stylistic choices (page organization, lettering, etc).
Ruth Stern
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Not sure I like graphic novels. Liked the story.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I normally like graphic novel memoirs, but I didn't like her art style or her panel layout choices; personal taste, but I felt both distracted from the story.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautifully illustrated memoir depicting the author's family history through the Holocaust from her grandmother's voice and eyes as well as the lessons learned from her mother.
Rebecca Hanover
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love everything about this incredibly detailed and thoughtful book. This beautifully rendered debut graphic memoir by Amy Kurzweil gives the reader a private glimpse into all the facets of the author's life, one hand-drawn page at a time. Each panel reveals more and more about her psyche, her family's history, and the "stuff" that makes her, well, her. She asks questions about her Jewish identity, tells and explores her Bubbe's story of fleeing the Holocaust as a way to understand herself, ...more
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads FirstReads program.

I really liked this book, even though it took me a little bit of time to get through it; a one-sitting read this is not. It's sad, and it's heavy. Occasionally it feels like it's meandering, but the point comes around with a little time. This memoir carries both the weight of history and personal discovery, both hard topics that can make the book feel dense with meaning. It's worth moving through that density, though,
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This graphic memoir was a quick and fascinating read. It is the tale of three generations of women, but to be perfectly honest, Bubbe stole the whole show. Amy Kurzwell is talented and gives a nod to the past that got her where she is, but I hardly know anything about her mother except that she is a psychologist and complains about her own mother. The character even complains about her one-dimensional portrayal.

Bubbe's incredible story and larger-than-life personality are all that matters here.
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Play Book Tag: The Flying Couch by Amy Kurzweil, 4 stars 4 14 Apr 23, 2018 07:18AM  

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Amy Kurzweil’s debut graphic memoir, Flying Couch will be published in October 2016. Her comics appear in The New Yorker and other publications. Her series GutterFACE is hosted by the literary webcast drDOCTOR and her short stories have appeared in The Toast, Washington Square Review, Hobart, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. She teaches writing and comics at Parsons School of Design and at the Fashion ...more