Benjamin Parzybok - published November 2008
trade paper · 9781931520546 | ebook 9781931520973
COUCH. A novel. An odyssey. An epic furniture removal. A road trip. An exuberant and hilarious debut in which an episode of furniture moving gone awry becomes an impromptu quest of self-discovery, secret histories, and unexpected revelations.
The Oregonian: “Oregon Benjamin Parzybok and the art of couch-moving”
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 floods 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 roommates are off 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.
A freak flood evicts three unlikely roommates from their apartment forcing them to get up off the couch . . . and start carrying it. The couch, though, has designs of its own and the roommates—uncertain of their own paths—follow the couch’s will as it leads them out of contemporary Portland and straight to ancient trouble. A once successful computer hacker with girl problems, Thom looks to science to explain the couch; Erik, a bumbling con man, hopes to capitalize on it; and Tree’s curious dreams make him the group’s truest believer.
Parzybok creates a world in which the most domestic of objects transports the reader into magical and foreign lands. He offers a welcome antidote to the doom and gloom of the television news, cheering every adult who still hopes to discover adventure lurking in the living room.
Read more about Benjamin Parzybok.
- An Indie Next Pick
- The Big Idea
- What is this?
- Pre-publication interview about quests, dowsers, and, of course, couches on Cambridge’s own Porter Square Books Blog.
- Ben’s Book Notes on Largehearted Boy, including Deltron 3030, Andrew Bird, Beck, the Breeders, and more.
“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
“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.”
“What I like about the novel is its epic scope and the constant, unapologetic insistence that there is something magical about this inanimate piece of furniture.” —Andrew McCarthy
“Benjamin Parzybok’s debut novel elevates this common piece of furniture from the stuff of everyday magic to something much more powerful.” —Jessica Schubert McCarthy
“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. His book 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
“Stylistically brilliant, Couch is also by turns hilarious, poignant, tender, and energizing.”
“This novel made me think, laugh, cringe, and question. It doesn’t get much better than that in what I look for in a book! Highly recommended!” —Stephanie, Twenty-Third Avenue Books
“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
In the world and on the web
- Bookslut interview: “I used to read exclusively fantasy fiction for years. I loved Ursula Le Guin, the Earthsea Trilogy, The Sword of Shanara — David Eddings was a grocery checker at a local grocery store in Spokane where I grew up. I remember reading the Belgariad and then going to visit him in the store where he still checked groceries and being so amazed that this man had written those books (and that he was still checking groceries!) It was a humbling and inspiring experience. I believe David Eddings went on to do rather well — but at the same time it was a nice introduction to the writer’s life.”
- Featured in the PNBA Holiday Catalog (Best of the Northwest)
- Video Interview at Library Journal
- Benjamin Parzybok
- ISFDB | Wikipedia | Library Thing | Goodreads
- Find Couch in a library near you.
- Competition winners
- Ben was on tour in late 2008 and early 2009. If you missed it, download the Tour Flier (PDF).
- An interview about Gumball Poetry.
- Cover art © Andi Watson.
Download cover for print.
- Author photo © Laura Moulton.