Semester of Graduation

Spring 2022


Master of Arts (MA)


Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Document Type



Chinese immigrants first arrived in Peru in the mid-19th Century. Since then, the Sino-Peruvian community has lived through myriad vicissitudes. Today, despite its indisputable influence in Peru’s history, it is still largely invisible in society, just as the concept of an Asian Latin American identity remains elusive in the national consciousness. In the literary and academic world, the scarcity of a voice highlighting Chinese legacies in Peruvian literature is echoed by the dearth of such a voice in the criticism regarding works by Sino-Peruvian writers about Sino-Peruvian experiences.

This comparative analysis engages with two novels that evince deep parallelism with their respective authors’ lives: La vida no es una tómbola (2008) by Siu Kam Wen and Mongolia (2015) by Julia Wong. Siu was born in China, then moved to Peru at a young age; Wong is a tusán, born and raised in Peru by a Chinese father and a mestiza mother. In its unique way, each text explores the liminal state of its autobiographical protagonist and other characters, encompassing the themes of home, return, statelessness, multilingualism, otherness, otherization. Moreover, both novels feature meta-narrative moments that unveil their authors’ musings on the artistic, creative process of honing one’s voice, articulating one’s subjectivity, forging one’s agency despite multifarious sociocultural limitations.

Thus, this project aims to compare and contrast these attributes revealed in both texts. In particular, to fill the void in current studies, it seeks to ascertain how the authors’ different migrant states—one as a first-generation immigrant, the other as a tusán—impact their perspectives, attitudes, narrative strategies, and constructed fictional worlds. Besides, it examines two female characters from the viewpoint of gender studies, an aspect surprisingly unexplored in these texts. Finally, as a Chinese critic, I strive to respond to the lacuna of a “Chinese” voice in the criticism by incorporating into textual analyses my own comprehension, grounded in my knowledge of Chinese languages, cultures, literatures, values and worldviews.

Keywords: Peru, China, migration, tusán, statelessness, nomadism, orientalism, transnationalism, transculturation, deterritorialization, cultural translation, multilingualism, gender, agency, sexuality, writing, performativity.

Committee Chair

Morris, Andrea E.