'Eugenie' by Patrick Samnang Mey

'Eugenie' by Patrick Samnang Mey

A Graphic Novel Set in Phnom Penh
There’s always a bit of a thrill to watching a movie set in a place you’ve stood, or listening to a song that namedrops your hometown, but did you ever expect to read a graphic novel set in Phnom Penh? Get ready for a rush as you check out O’Russey Market, Equinox, and The Empire in the panels of Patrick Samnang Mey’s graphic novel, Eugénie.

Originally released in French, Mey translated his 240 page tale into English and celebrated its launch in November. The plot follows Orion, a French guy who falls hard for a girl, only for her to get the wanderlust tingle in her toes. Love, loss, acceptance, commitment and the lure of travel are all dealt with in what is sometimes painfully realistic detail.

Eugénie is a perfect graphic novel for both longtime lovers of the medium or for beginners. It can be quickly read as a story of a relationship, though the better idea is to dwell deeply. Take time to ponder parallels to the Greek myth of Orpheus and the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray, ” both of which are woven throughout the plot, while keeping an eye out for homages to Gustav Klimt, X-Men, and Haruki Murakami, among others. Multiple re-readings truly are warranted in order to savor every detail in the visuals and appreciate the depth of the narrative.
When I interviewed Mey, he spoke about his work with glee, and it was fascinating to watch him flick through the pages of the book he’s been working on for the past six or seven years of his life, pointing out differences in technique. Readers should watch for details like the scenes in the past becoming more beautiful as the story progresses, while the visuals for the present become harsher and more angular.

Mey is proud to publish his work in Cambodia before seeking international distribution. He is a champion of local, self-sustaining art initiatives, and speaks passionately about the importance of cultural community-building here in his adopted city.

Far more humble than he should be, if you were to ask Mey where to buy his book, he has a habit of recommending places to borrow it: he himself admits he’s not the best businessman! This writer, however, highly recommends grabbing your own copy of Eugénie and supporting an exceptionally talented local artist. Eugénie is available at Monument Books, The Flicks 1+2, and Sticky Fingers. The French editions are available at Carnets d’Asie.

By Our Dear Lady Expatriate
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Where to find 'Eugenie'
- Monument Books: No. 111, Norodom Blvd
- Sticky Fingers: No. 29 Golden Sorya Mall
- Flicks 1+2: No. 39b, Street 95 + No. 34, Street 130
- Carnets d’Asie: No. 218, Street 184