THE HYPHEN THAT LIES BETWEEN
Davies himself is connected to his own Chinese heritage in a unique way, learning about the culture and history more from a writer’s perspective.
“A lot of the writing I do is driven by discovery and trying to write into spaces we don’t know. What is my relationship with Chinese-ness? How may I learn more about it?” Davies asked.
In his research for Davies traveled to China to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture. What Davies ultimately learned is that the Chinese community, connections to Chinese heritage, particularly in the face of stereotypes or anti-Chinese sentiments.
In their own journeys, Davies’ characters (both immigrant and native) work on coming to terms with being both Chinese and American and how to effectively represent their hybrid identities.
In terms of Davies’ own Chinese-ness and biracial-ness, he too finds a sense of resolve after years of grappling.
“I remember growing up as half Welsh and half Chinese, and I felt there was no one else like me. I think there’s a bit of loneliness in my uniqueness.
“I’m not authentic because I’m alone; there’s nobody else like me,” Davies said. “I think as a child, my uniqueness felt like a burden. Now it feels like a gift. It feels oddly freeing.”
Sophia Wu in Washington contributed to this story.
Peter Ho Davies says that during World War II, “the Chinese moved from being the other to becoming allies. There was a change in American perceptions of China and the Chinese.” Author Peter Ho Davies