A Woman Spans Two Cultures and Two Continents

This month, Our Daily Lives features the story of a woman with a dual identity–American and Peruvian. The child of an American mother and a Peruvian father, Marie Arana was raised with two cultures. In telling her story, centered on her parents’ difficult marriage, Arana describes a feeling of incompleteness and confusion belonging to both, but not entirely either, nationality. She illuminates the class and racial tensions in Peru and in America, how they are similar in their color scheme, but different in their undertones. Arana is the editor of the Washington Post Book Review.In this excerpt from “American Chica,” Arana has just entered an American school in Peru and has pretended to read English poorly in order to be placed in a Spanish-speaking classroom.There is a story they tell in Cajamarca about four sons from an honorable family that knew the value of honesty, the pleasures of hard work, and the worth of a job well done.