Marcelino Truong's first book about the early years of the Vietnam war, the graphic memoir Such a Lovely Little War (2016), received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews and was named "one the season's best graphic novels" by the New York Times. In this sequel, young Marcelino and his family move from Saigon to London in order to escape the war following the assassination of South Vietnamese President Diem, for whom Marcelino's diplomat father was a personal interpreter.
In London, his father struggles to build a new life for his children and his wife, whose bipolar spells are becoming increasingly violent. But for Marco and his siblings, swinging London is an exciting place to be: a new world of hedonists and hippies. At the same time, the news from their grandparents in Vietnam grows ever grimmer as the war intensifies and American involvement becomes increasingly muddied. Young Marcelino finds himself conflicted between embracing the peace-loving anti-war demonstrators and the strong, sentimental bond he feels toward a wounded Vietnam, whose conflict is not as simple as the demonstrators make it out to be.
With its audacious imagery and heart-rending text, Saigon Calling is a bold graphic memoir that strikes a remarkable balance between the intimate chronicle of a family undone by mental illness, and the large-scale tragedy of a country undone by war.
Marcelino Truong is an illustrator, painter, and author. He earned degrees in law at the Paris Institute of Political Studies and English literature at the Sorbonne.
"Like the masterful Such a Lovely Little War, the story benefits from the author’s unique perspective, formed by the very different perspectives of his parents (whose marriage seems to be disintegrating), by seeing the war from afar while surrounded by those of different nationalities, and by maturing from childhood through adolescence during a turbulent era … An excellent combination of personal insight and historical sweep." —Kirkus Reviews (STARRED)
"A complex, finely judged and utterly riveting memoir ... It is an amazing achievement: a familiar story (Vietnam) told from (what was to me) an entirely new point of view, with great wit as well as pathos." —The Guardian
"This vividly drawn graphic memoir examines how Westerners feverishly debating the Vietnam War neglected the perspective of the Vietnamese people ... More assured than his impressive previous memoir Such a Lovely Little War, this intimate family story is woven into the record of a war that engulfed the world, a history startlingly relevant to the present day." —Publishers Weekly (STARRED)
"Saigon Calling is an intimate and courageous piece of storytelling. It provides insight into the suffering that Vietnamese expatriates endured, especially those of mixed race heritage, and of the painful bonds forged with their past, present and future." —Shelf Awareness
"Truong's work is compelling, provoking, and moving. In many ways the latest volume of his graphic memoir, Saigon Calling, is even more fascinating than the first, insofar as it follows not only the war in Vietnam but also the culture shock of Truong's family attempting to readjust to life outside of the war zone, in Europe." —Popmatters.com