• Sigh, Gone

  • A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In
  • By: Phuc Tran
  • Narrated by: Phuc Tran
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (819 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Tran's story is an American immigration story, and so much more. His delivery is crisp and engaging, and maintains just the slightest element of whimsy.... If you're a fan of memoirs and a fan of literature, this is a must-listen." (AudioFile Magazine)

This program is read by the author.

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.

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. In this coming-of-age memoir told through the themes of great books such as The Metamorphosis, The Scarlet Letter, The 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.

Appealing to fans of coming-of-age memoirs such as Fresh Off the Boat, Running with Scissors, or tales of assimilation like Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Displaced and The Refugees, Sigh, Gone explores one man’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.

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books

"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 the Pulitzer Prize winner The Sympathizer and The Refugees

"...going aural is your recommended medium because Tran also makes his narrating debut - prefaced by an actual drumroll, yes! - with energy, empathy, and plenty of curse words, as he shares his no-holds-barred coming-of-age journey in small-town Carlisle, Pennsylvania." (Booklist, starred review)

©2020 Phuc Tran (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year, 2020

Amazon.com Best Books of the Year, 2020

Audible.com Best of the Year, 2020

Editor's Pick

The Vietnamese Immigrant Story I Didn’t Know I Was Waiting For
"I fell in love with Phuc Tran's voice from the very first sentence of his hilarious memoir about being a Vietnamese immigrant growing up in small-town Pennsylvania. In the very first scene, he uses no-holds-barred honesty to describe what it was like when another Vietnamese student transferred to his blue-collar high school. He hated that guy! He was the Vietnamese kid, not that other kid. What follows is a smart, authentic, funny portrait of a life spent trying to both stand out and fit in. These days, Phuc is a high school Latin teacher and the owner of a popular tattoo studio in Maine—an incongruous combination that made complete sense as I immersed myself in his story. Sigh, Gone is one of my favorite memoirs of the year so far."—Rachel S., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Sigh, Gone

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Profanity Alert

When the very first word is the f word and the second sentence takes God's name in vain, I'm done... another wasted credit. I wish with all my heart that books (written and audio) had ratings just like movies do... Very disappointed!!!

34 people found this helpful

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So glad to have come across this book

Every few days, I like to peruse the new releases. Often I'll find something in a genre I like, but there's something truly special about stumbling upon a book about which I knew nothing, but which grabs my interest. Punk and literature? Yes please! This memoir is engaging, beautiful, funny, sad, infuriating, thoughtful, surprising, and relatable. I would enjoy re-reading it in print, but the author does a great job narrating the audio version. I didn't want the book to end.

The author does not pull any punches, and dives right into a memory of youthful angst and frustration, drawing a parallel between Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray and his own uncomfortable experience of seeing himself reflected in another child. This sets the rough format for the rest of the book, intertwining memory and experience with the foundational and influential books and plays that became such a defining aspect of the author's life. It's always illuminating to hear how another person has related to a book you've read, or to hear another avid reader describe a book you haven't gotten to yet.

I won't try to summarize the book beyond that (I always hate those types of reviews). I will, however, enthusiastically recommend that you add this to your "reading plan," to borrow a phrase. In addition to sharing his own unique experiences, Tran has captured the essence of how it feels to be an outsider. If you've ever struggled to understand who you are and where you fit into this crazy world, you'll see some of your own life in this book.

33 people found this helpful

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From one CHS grad to another, sorry! GREAT WORK!

Phuc, you don't know me but I graduated Carlisle High School 4 years before you (and was thrilled to listen in when your older cousin Tuan makes a inauspicious cameo in the book!). You might have had Dr. Fishman as your English teacher. If so, it shows. You're a damn good writer and I was freaking thrilled the first word of the book is "F***." You know how to command language, how to be human, how to be vulnerable. Congrats, this is one of the best memoirs of the decade (so far) and will endure for a long time. Go, Phuc, go!

19 people found this helpful

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Great listen!

As a teacher in an immigrant community, I found this book such an insightful peek into the lives of kids that are bridging two very different worlds. And as a teen in the 80's it was spot on presenting life then.

19 people found this helpful

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Read this.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book but I feel that I would have liked reading it better. The writer narrates by the first 4/5 of the book he is so flat and really misses the humor of his childhood. Immigrant or not we all have tragicomic stories and as we get older we should be able to see the universality of some of it.
I continue to be shocked at the cruelty of children. Their parents should be ashamed and I am sorry Phuc was treated so badly. Glad he is so resilient

13 people found this helpful

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What a great book!

I enjoyed taking his journey from boyhood to punk to bad ass smart punk nerd! I loved his honesty and also gained insight into why sometimes it’s hard to communicate when things don’t translate. Thank you Phuc Tran! I have over 450 books in my audible and a good 300 are memoirs. I rate yours in the top 5 of those not written by famous people.

9 people found this helpful

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Wonderful insight eloquently told

Phuc dissected his refugee past and psychoanalyzed the relationship with his family(particularly dad) in the small town of Carlisle through the lense of classical literature and Greek mythology. It was a great weaving of Eastern upbringing/tradition with western philosophy eloquently told. As an asian american who graduated from a public high school in the late 80s, i can identify with much of his pain from parental physical punishment and feelings from subtle racism in society at large. It seems that the US as a whole has more ethnic representation in every niche of the society three decades later thanks to works like Sigh, Gone. Thank you Phuc for sharing your (sometimes painful) coming of age past and for introducing me to the Classics that I could not otherwise connect with the present world.

7 people found this helpful

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Interesting Memoir

Sometimes in the past once or twice I have found that Audible has included some poorly written memoirs in their collection and the consumer has to watch out for the duds (however, Audible has a great book exchange program to make up for this). However, this is a great memoir and I finished the engaging story of Phuc Tran in just a few days....of course it's the pandemic and nobody has much to do. This book was very well -written. It is a "coming-of-age" memoir and deals with the experience of a 1st generation child of immigrants to the United States (in this case, a family of Vietnamese "boat people") and gives insight into the struggle of Phuc Tran to navigate American life. The book was frequently funny. It compelled me to buy another book about the Vietnam war since I don't know much about that conflict (not being American). Phuc Tran's experience will stay with me like that of another Audible memoir, Annie Dodd's memoir titled A Woman's Walk Off-Grid. wow! Tran went on a bit too much about racism and feeling like an "outsider" without realizing that everyone feels alienated in high-school, even the white privileged students. This memoir reinforced that we all connect through art. I hope this author keeps writing.

6 people found this helpful

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  • 07-16-20

great listen!

Enjoyed the autobiography and was glad that is it was the author narrating. Im from a small town and grew up in the 90s as well so lots of nostalgia for me as we ell as a new perspective on growing up in small town America. Thanks Phuc.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

This is a perspective on immigration, race, psychology, culture, and the universal struggle to fit in that will broaden many minds. An important book for our current times.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Susan New Zealand
  • 05-13-21

Gentle humour and great narration

Gentle and insightful view of American life, and family love, with punk references! Very enjoyable audiobook, narrated by the author.

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  • A mum
  • 10-26-20

Brilliant!

An engaging, insightful, entertaining, illuminating and inspiring memoir. Very well narrated by the author.
I look forward to the next instalment!

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