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Contemporary Italian Novels on Chinese Immigration to Italy


In this essay, I survey for the first time some of the most meaningful novels concerned with Chinese immigration to Italy. My primary focus is to examine the ways in which authors of various socio-cultural backgrounds address the interconnections of narrativity, social concerns, and cultural identities. I show that these novels reinforce or contest the meanings of specific issues as well as the rhetorical strategies in media and cinematic representations of Chinese immigrants in Italy following the protest in Milan’s Chinatown in 2007. Ultimately, I contend that by engaging with specific literary genres in which the nexuses of historical narrative, social critique, and ethics are featured (e.g., “New Italian Epic” and crime novel), these novels rehearse and reshape received social perceptions regarding Chinese immigrants in contemporary Italy.

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