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Flying Couch is the story of three generations of women:
me (the artist),
my mother (the psychologist),
and my grandmother (the survivor)
The book weaves my own coming-of-age through my grandmother’s story. At thirteen years old, Bubbe (as I call her) escaped the Warsaw Ghetto alone, by disguising herself as a gentile. My mother taught me: our memories and our families shape who we become. What does it means to be part of a family, and how does each generation bear the imprint of the past, its traumas and its gifts? Flying Couch is my answer to these questions, the documentation of my quest for identity and understanding.
Praise for Flying Couch:
Flying Couch is a Junior Library Guild Fall 2016 Selection.
The New York Times listed Flying Couch as one of “The 2016 Season’s Best New Graphic Novels.” It was also named an Editor’s Choice.
Kirkus Reviews listed Flying Couch as one of “The Best Memoirs of 2016.”
Young Adult Library Services Association named Flying Couch one of “2017’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens”
Flying Couch is a Foreword INDIES Award Gold Medal Winner for 2016.
“Beautifully illustrated…an ambitious portrait of three generations of women.” —Pamela Paul, editor of The New York Times Book Review
“A debut that enriches and extends the potential of graphic narrative.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Beautiful and strong.” —Miriam Katin, author of Letting It Go
“Flying Couch is perfect. It’s perceptive, emotionally on point, surprising and funny in its details, told in an intuitive way that’s completely direct, and about something that matters. This is an important book.” —Liana Finck, author of The Bintel Brief
“I read Flying Couch in one sitting, without moving, literally laughed and literally cried.” —Rachel Fershleiser, co-editor of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning
“Amy Kurzweil’s moving debut is a story of trauma and survival, and a search for identity and belonging. Fluctuating, in words and images, from the bubbly to the intense, this graphic memoir exposes the complicated and powerful ways we are shaped by the histories and relationships that anchor us.” —Tahneer Oksman, author of How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?
“Kurzweil proves a sophisticated artist whose imagination is brimming with compassion as well as psychological observation and insight. Flying Couch is as profound a book on the transmission of traumatic memory through the generations as one could hope for. It is also an immensely charming coming-of-age story and family memoir whose warm humor will surely evoke recognition and delight readers across the generations…yes, even your grandmother can read it.” — Ranen Omer Sherman for the Jewish Book Council
“Kurzweil beautifully balances humor with the history of her family’s tragedy… Flying Couch is a wry and deeply moving exploration of what the Holocaust means to the descendants of survivors. Kurzweil artfully weaves her grandmother’s survivor testimony within her own coming of age story. Her obsession in understanding and immortalizing her Bubbe’s tragedy can be felt on every page.” —Freddie Moore for Lit Reactor
“While the subject recalls Art Spiegelman, Kurzweil’s tone and loose composition–her line drawings create organic page divisions in lieu of rigid paneling–is more Will Eisner. The sly details, though, are her own. Kurzweil is as candid as she is focused: this is the story of a search for meaning across three generations of women.” —Zak Nelson for Shelf Awareness
“…an engrossing, graphic new take on a rich topic…Kurzweil asks what understanding family history does to a person’s Jewish identity. Kurzweil’s style—particularly her illustrations of family portraits—is moving and evocative, and reminds us that the legacy of the Holocaust is still personal, even these seven decades later.” —Sarah Zarrow for Jewniverse
“[Kurzweil’s] tone segues from humorous to poignant, especially when talking about Bubbe. Aptly titled, Flying Couch takes readers from Massachusetts, to Michigan, to New York, to Florida, to Germany, to Poland, and even on a birthright trip to Israel… kick back and let Kurzweil spirit you away.”—Whitney Dwire for BUST Magazine.
A compelling graphic memoir such as Amy Kurzweil’s Flying Couch evokes personal and cultural memory by way of gestures, poses, angles, text written sideways, poetic fragments, and arrow-flung words imitating perception itself. Each pencil mark of Kurzweil’s reminds you that the book is handmade, and is meant to be held, pored over; Kurzweil’s graphic memoir reminds you that all books aspire to be as artful. — Hannah Baker Saltmarsh for Tikkun
Reviews and Excerpts:
Dart: Design Arts Daily Review
Excerpt in Lilith Magazine “Fall 2016: First Week at College”
“Richmond author’s Flying Couch is wonderful graphic memoir” – The Berkshire Eagle
Interviews and Articles
“Cartoonist Amy Kurzweil on Drawing Inherited Trauma” – Literary Hub
“Amy Kurzweil Draws Her Way Across Three Generations” – Jewish Boston
“Graphic Memoir explores the echoes felt by a Holocaust Survivor – Cape Cod Times
“Q&A with MFA Alum Amy Kurzweil” – The New School Writing Program
“A Comics Roundtable” with Catapult.co
“Q&A: Amy Kurzweil, author of Flying Couch” – Christi Craig
“5 Question with Amy Kurzweil” – The Wayward Wild
My Playlist for Largehearted Boy
“‘I feel Jewish… ‘: Roots and Reflection in Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir” Hannah Baker Saltmarsh in Tikkun Vol 33, Issue 3 (Duke University Press) 2017
“Mapping Transgenerational Memory of the Shoah in Third Generation Graphic Narratives: On Amy Kurzweil’s Flying Couch” Dana Mihăilescu in Journal of Modern Jewish Studies Vol. 17 Issue 1, (Routledge) 2018
Radio and TV
Interview with The Yiddish Book Center’s Podcast “The Schmooze” (audio)
Interview with Radio Sefarad (audio)
My Facebook Live interview at SXSW
Indiana Public Media: “Profiles”
Interview on “Books and Beyond,” NewTV
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