Couch by Benjamin Parzybok

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In this exuberant and hilarious debut reminiscent of The Life of Pi and Then 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.

"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

About Benjamin Parzybok

See more books from this Author
Benjamin Parzybok created a journal published through gumball machines (Gumball Poetry) and a city-wide mystery/treasure hunt (Black Magic Insurance Agency). His previous jobs include: ghostwriter for the Governor of Washington state, web developer, Taiwanese factory technical writer, asbestos removal janitor, potato sorter, and congressional page. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with the writer Laura Moulton and their son.
Published November 1, 2008 by Small Beer Press. 291 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Travel, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Couch


How often do you find yourself parked on the couch, watching television, snacking, feet resting on the coffee table, nodding off, lazing the day away?

Jan 12 2009 | Read Full Review of Couch

SF Site

My wife has a set of stories that she describes as "guy stories," a category that contains such notable tales as Easy Rider, City Slickers and Deliverance.

| Read Full Review of Couch

When a freak flood forces Thom, Eric, and Tree from their apartment, they find themselves carrying an ungainly orange couch through the streets of Portland, Oregon.

| Read Full Review of Couch

Fiction Writers Review

So you boys are on a quest.

Jul 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Couch

Fiction Writers Review

The premise of Benjamin Parzybok’s unique debut novel is one that combines the mundane with the epic: in the process of moving an old orange couch across town, three young men embark upon a quest to save the world.

Jul 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Couch

The Zone

As time goes on, though, the impression grows that Parzybok is playing it straighter than that, as there's a serious quest to be completed: the couch is in fact a holy relic that needs returning home, and there are people who seek to take the couch from the roommates, by any means necessary.

| Read Full Review of Couch

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