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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  833 ratings  ·  162 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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Average rating 3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  833 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Mar 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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... ...more
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. ...more
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
Andrea Blythe
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fic-fantasy
Three roommates and slackers — Thom, Erik, and Tree — find themselves out of a place to live, when the couple in the apartment above manages to break their waterbed, flooding their apartment. When their landlord asks them to carry the old couch in their apartment to the thrift store. Unbeknownst to them, this simple act triggers an epic journey. The premise for this book was so quirky and strange that I didn't quite know what to expect from Couch. This book is so beautifully grounded and is abun ...more
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
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
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
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. ...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
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....
Clinton Murphy
Jan 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
First book I’ve ever physically burned so that no one else would have to suffer through it.
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.
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!
Kristen Zoeckler
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read; dissatisfying ending.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Very absurd and fun... One of my favorites.
Charlston Goch
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Real score 3.43.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: humblebundle
I read an entire book about a couch with high gravity? It was weirdly endearing.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved the premise. Uniquely imagined and rendered. Highly recommended.
Carol Wheeler
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am pretty sure it’s not, but I do feel this is the weirdest book I have ever read. Would make an interesting movie.
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fairly strange and silly book, but I enjoyed it, seeing ghosts of my past echoed with strange roommates and adventures involving furniture.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
This starts out strong, full of whimsy. Two thirds through it bogs down and I lost interest.
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
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
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Ben lives in Portland, OR
full bio for Ben Parzybok

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