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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  738 Ratings  ·  155 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Small Beer Press (first published 2008)
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Rating details
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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
Nov 20, 2008 rated it liked it
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 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who love quirky writing.
Recommended to Stephanie by: Small Beer Press (yay!)
Shelves: favorites
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
Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2009 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.
Antonio Urias
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
else fine
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
Marta Boksenbaum
May 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it

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....
Aileen M
May 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Bryan picked this out for me, it was alright, but not amazing. The idea is funny (which was why I read it).
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Tuším, že každého na tejto novinke zaujme niečo iné. Jedno je isté; nájde sa tam niečo pre vás všetkých. Nemali by ju ale čítať tí, ktorí sa nedokážu preniesť nad literárnu fikciu, pretože potom by si Gauč neužili a iritoval by ich. Je to zvláštny príbeh, no určite neľutujem, že som si ho napokon prečítala. Bola to milá knižočka.
Charles Cohen
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-lit
Boo couches! Hooray for mindful wandering!

This is a perfectly fine book. It aspires to be so much more, but doesn't quite get there. Reviewers compared it to Life of Pi in that respect, and for me they both fell short about the same amount, although I like the mystical/metaphysical aspects of Couch better.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read; dissatisfying ending.
Emily Ann
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Relatable characters caught up in a fantastic storyline. Blends the real world with mythology and magic in a unique way. Sometimes funny, sometimes contemplative. Great alternative beach read!
Nov 12, 2010 rated it liked it
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
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
So this is me: I'm a tsundoku, a book hoarder. In the past couple of years I've stocked my shelves at about 3 times the rate I can complete them. I'm not particularly concerned about this because a) I want to support working authors and b) I'm sure I'll get to them *someday*. But I needed some motivation to go back to books that seemed shiny and interesting a year ago that were having trouble bringing themselves up to the top of my to-read stack. I decided to prioritize books on a single shelf a ...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
Apr 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub
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
Nov 04, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Three stars for normal reasons. A fourth for charm.

Odd. Quirky. Wild. A little silly. A little serious. A little bit of everything.

If I were to write a book, to have the energy to write a book, to make words go together in some reasonably cohesive fashion, and to find the motivation to finish the project, this would be my book.

It's not refined, nor rock-solid, nor moving. It feels amateur and quaint, possibly because it didn't get over-filtered in the process of being edited to hell by a marketi
Laura Belgrave
May 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-version
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
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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
Kressel Housman
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, humor
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
Dysmonia Kuiper
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: the-215
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
Joseph Chinnock
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mercy Strongheart
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book shortly after I met Ben, so I went into it like "Oh, this is a friend of mine so I should read his book." But I am so glad I read Couch. It's one of those stories with lovable, quirky characters who move into the back corners of your mind and just stay there forever, occasionally popping up to visit you and say hello.

To me, Couch is an enduring tale of just how far good friends will go for each other. The loyalty between the young men who are carrying this magical couch for thou
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