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My Sister Chaos

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  27 ratings  ·  8 reviews

The story of twin sisters who escape from an unknown, war-torn country, this novel follows an obsessive-compulsive cartographer trapped in the mapping of her own house and a painter turned code-breaker trying to find the female lover she lost in the war. While the cartographer is obsessed with keeping the world in order---her sister's unexpected visit is equated with a sig

Paperback, 204 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Spinifex Press (first published September 1st 2010)
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A brilliant, harrowing first novel that won the Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction. It's about two sisters in an unnamed country (that seems like Australia, since that's where the author's from) who are refugees from another unnamed country that has been torn apart by civil war (think Yugoslavia). One sister, the unreliable narrator, is a cartographer and an obsessive compulsive. Her twin, a lesbian painter who lost her lover in their homeland during the madness, shows up ...more
Loved this tale of twin refugees from an unnamed country, one a cartographer with perhaps Asperger Syndrome and/or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the other a lesbian painter. The former is the narrator, and the latter is called only "the sister." The sister has lost her lover and lover's child in the war. She left her more emotionally handicapped sister when they reached America, and has just returned to her sister's house.

This Borgesian story of identity and of PTSD is worthy of its status as
An interesting perspective on universal trauma through the eyes of one of its victims.
It's a good thing I have a book group, so I can recommend this novel and hope that others will discuss it with me. As one of the blurb writers said, it's "Intriguing, intelligent and highly original." It will change forever how I think about refugees (and maps). But I don't know what to make of it, entirely, and I sure don't know how to comment here without creating spoilers.

The main character appears to be asexual, a queer sexuality not often encountered in literature; the next-to-main characte
Despite my rating, it's actually very well written. It's just I found myself unable to relate to the characters except in the flashbacks. But in the present, the thinking driving the main character's masterwork just eluded me.
This novel is amazing. The slow, anxious tone is incredible, minimalist dialogue with so many witty one-liners and a deeply interesting analysis of life, psychology and coping with trauma.
My god, does this book need a proper review. Coming soon.

For now: shelved as ecstasy.
Engrossing - very quirky - loved it
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