Couch – Reviews

Mon 10 Nov 2008 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment

CouchReviews of Couch
Benjamin Parzybok

“Meet Erik, Tree and Thom, three unlikely new roommates sharing a Portland apartment with an inherited handmade gigantic orange couch. Here’s the plot: the three, thrown out on the street after a freak flooding of their apartment, and told to take the couch with them, appear to be compelled to carry their possibly “magical” couch on a journey of the couch’s making through the streets of Portland west to the Pacific and a different reality thousands of miles away. Quirky doesn’t begin to describe it. Parzybok, in his debut novel, sketches the three roommates and the various characters they encounter with an amazingly sure hand for one so new to the trade, and the outrageous storyline (is the couch really the “seat of power” spoken of in ancient South American legend? Is there really an ancient but still vibrant hidden civilization that is calling the couch to itself?) provides a fascinating framework on which Parzybok hangs his social and political observations and off-the-wall humor. A perfect Portland fantasy.”
Willamette Live

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

Couch shouldn’t be half as entertaining as it is…. In the end [Parzybok] pulls it off, even though he shouldn’t be able to.”
—Adrienne Martini, Locus

“Once upon a time, Donald Barthelme, Jonathan Lethem, and Umberto Eco attended a film festival together. The featured flicks were Kiss Me Deadly, Fitzcarraldo, and Repo Man. Inspired by this odd bill of fare, the trio set out to collaborate on a novel. The result was Benjamin Parzybok’s debut, Couch.”
The Barnes & Noble Review

Couch is a quick and funny read, a short fable that ensnares us in its quixotic intentions and encourages us to believe for a short time in something magic, even if it is just a couch.”
—About.com

“A fun adventure with a seductive premise.”—Popmattters.com

“My wife has a set of stories that she describes as ‘guy stories,’ a category that contains such notable tales as Easy Rider, City Slickersand Deliverance. In such a story a group of young males decide to set them selves to some inconsequential task. The journey is filled with adversity, strife, joy and tragedy as the men struggle to finish their quest. In the end the characters discover who they really are. Couchby Benjamin Parzybok is one of these stories with a healthy dose of magic realism added for seasoning.”
—SF Site

“The essential message of Couch appears to be that the world and our lives would be better if we all got off our couches (literal and metaphorical) a bit more often.”
—The Zone

“The world of furniture has been given an Odysseus. I was completely swept into the story of three loafers who burden themselves with a couch and are given a chance to risk everything and maybe save the world a little. It’s easy to look at the world today and feel a sense of hopelessness, but Couch reminds us that there is still magic in the world and that we are the heroes of our own stories.”
— Mara Lynn Luther, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, MT

“Beyond the good old-fashioned story, Couch meditates on heroism and history, but above all, it’s an argument for shifting your life around every now and then, for getting off the couch and making something happen.”
The L Magazine

“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

“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

“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

“An amazing debut novel about three roommates who get evicted and take their couch with them on a journey that becomes a epic quest that becomes one of the most truly weird and original books I’ve read in ages.”
Karen, A Stranger Here Myself

Reviews of “The Coder” (LCRW 21)

“My favorite story in the issue was “The Coder” by Benjamin Parzybok. Set at a software company, Brian is given the job of taking care of the one actual programmer who writes code that no one really understands but somehow works. This is pure fantasy but the story felt like myth.”
SF Revu

“A simple enough story about a mystical programmer who produces perfect code for Nebbets Inc. and their apparently petty software. The Coder is a hermit-like figure who lives on Nebbets Inc.’s roof and who deals only with Brian Gorman, the story’s narrator. Brian modestly exploits his unique position for his own benefit—though less than others might—and his job largely involves delivering food, collecting screeds of handwritten code, and hiding from everyone, except the company’s most senior managers, the fact that the entire organisation exists on the whim of a madman on the roof. The end of “The Coder” will hardly come as a surprise, but it is nicely handled, and it maintains a neat air of mystery and irony.”
The Fix

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