Dinner with the Author


He's funny and brilliant, a TEDx alum, tattoo artist, skateboarder and Emma Bovary-reading comedic storyteller. Have dinner with him & us.

Thursday, October 1, 2020   7:00-8:30PM


Join us for an evening of delicious food, a good laugh, and an engaging conversation. Cook some meatloaf and apple pie (Phuc's favorite childhood meal) and craft a specialty cocktail Phuc has invented for the occasion—recipes will be included with your ticket. Or, if you want a pampered evening, contact our next door neighbor, The Bearded Frog, for your tasty meal to go! Please call them by Sept. 24 to order your meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and apple pie dinner: 985-9877.

About this Event

The second in our "Dinner with the Author" virtual series, this evening presents award-winning author, comedic storyteller, tattoo artist, and Latin teacher, Phuc (rhymes with Luke) Tran (rhymes with Ron), author of Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In.

This online event is ticketed. Your ticket includes an autographed, personalized copy of Sigh, Gone and admittance to the Zoom event for your household (link and more details will be sent after you purchase your ticket). The ticket and the book are a package deal and nonrefundable. If you already have a copy of Sigh, Gone you can elect to have this event copy autographed to a friend or family member. It's a great gift!

In addition, your ticket includes a link to a special event page which features recipes for meatloaf and Phuc's specially crafted event cocktail.

Live locally and aren't a cook? Call the Bearded Frog at 985-9877 by September 24 to order a delicious all-American meal (Phuc’s favorite, meatloaf! And mashed potatoes!) to take home. Swing by the Bearded Frog between 5-7 pm on October 1 (the event evening) for pick-up. 

About the Memoir

In 1975, during the fall of Saigon, Phuc Tran immigrates to America along with his family. By sheer chance they land in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a small town where the Trans struggle to assimilate into their new life. Already different by virtue of his nationality, Phuc decided to create his own identity of difference by pursuing skateboarding, punk rock, and great books. In this coming-of-age memoir told through the themes of great books such as The MetamorphosisThe Scarlet LetterThe Iliad, and more, Tran navigates the push and pull of finding and accepting himself despite the challenges of immigration, feelings of isolation, and teenage rebellion, all while attempting to meet the rigid expectations set by his immigrant parents. 

Sigh, Gone explores one boy’s bewildering experiences of abuse, racism, and tragedy and reveals redemption and connection in books and punk rock. Against the hairspray-and-synthesizer backdrop of the ‘80s, he finds solace and kinship in the wisdom of classic literature, and in the subculture of punk rock, he finds affirmation and echoes of his disaffection. In his journey for self-discovery Tran ultimately finds refuge and inspiration in the art that shapes—and ultimately saves—him. And though these themes may sound heavy, they are delivered with such humor, grace, and honesty that the reader feels side by side with Phuc as he wends his way toward growing up.


“The United States was already a better country because Phuc Tran refused to change his name. Then he went even further in changing this country by giving us this bold, funny, and profane memoir: a portrait of a young punk refugee and of heartland America itself, each of them as defiant and compelling as the other.” — Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of Pulitzer-Prize winning The Sympathizer and The Refugees

"In actuality and on the pages of this memoir, Tran's life goes off-road, defies reading plans or most other kinds of plans. Which makes SIGH, GONE a congenial read for our chaotic time." —Maureen Corrigan, NPR Fresh Air

Find many, many more words of praise here: https://www.phucskywalker.com/press

About the Author (in his own words)

Well, since I wrote a whole memoir about myself, it seems weird to write a short version of it, but here goes (and since the memoir is in the first person, I don’t think that I should refer to myself in the third person—Phuc would find that so pretentious). 

I was born in Sài Gòn Việt Nam, my family fled to America in 1975, and I grew up in Carlisle PA. Reared on a steady diet of Saturday morning cartoons, John Hughes, Star Wars, Bones Brigade videos, and bootlegged cassettes of Minor Threat and TSOL, I graduated high school in 1991. I majored in Classical Languages and Literature at Bard College—how did no one talk me out of that?—got my Master’s Degree at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and then moved to New York City in 1997. There I apprenticed to be a tattooer while teaching Latin during the day, and I’ve been teaching and tattooing ever since. I’ve never been good at staying in one lane—ask my wife about my driving.

Following in the footsteps of E.B. White (who was neither a tattooer nor Latin teacher), my wife and I left the city and moved to Maine in 2003 (she’s an honest-to-goodness Mainer) where we opened our shop, Tsunami Tattoo. 

In 2012, I delivered a TEDx talk which was highlighted by NPR’s TED Radio Hour. The TEDx talk and its reception planted a seed in me for sharing more of my story as a refugee (of which I’d shared very little). I embarked on writing my memoir in 2016, and in April 2020 SIGH, GONE was published by Flatiron Books. You can read the memoir to get all the gory details of my childhood and adolescence, but spoiler alert: I do somehow survive.

And here I am at present, deeply grateful to be following this brambly path to its unknown destination. 

As Joe Strummer said, the future is unwritten.


Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250194718
Availability: Often on our shelves, but if we're temporarily out, we can get back in!
Published: Flatiron Books - April 21st, 2020

For anyone who has ever felt like they don't belong, Sigh, Gone shares an irreverent, funny, and moving tale of displacement and assimilation woven together with poignant themes from beloved works of classic literature.

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