Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Sister Chaos” as Want to Read:
My Sister Chaos
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Sister Chaos

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  13 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

...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Spinifex Press (first published September 1st 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about My Sister Chaos, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about My Sister Chaos

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  40 ratings  ·  13 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of My Sister Chaos
Prem Sylvester
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a highly inventive work of fiction that bends reality, centering otherness (as experienced by refugees, dissidents, queer women) in a challenge to our systems of representation of the political/personal. Fergus employs cartographic and mathematical metaphors to expand the realm of emotions, of what is and what could be. I often had a catch in my breath, in my throat, quiet epiphanies. Unfortunately, these metaphors sometimes get caught in their own minutiae, in the practical belabouring ...more
Jillian
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Lily
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A mysterious and vivid read, My Sister Chaos describes unnamed sisters, from an unnamed country, relocated to a new unnamed country where they adjust in different ways. The two are simple contrasts of each other, an obsessive and neurotic cartographer who maps her new home incessantly and her artist sister mourning her lover and her radical community in their old war-torn country. The anonymity makes it an any man's tale, that this could be any country in the recent past or future and the strugg ...more
Lisa
Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Alice Nelson (The West Australian)
Shelves: australia, c21st, 16review
My Sister Chaos is a remarkable feat of creativity. Set in an unnamed country with three female characters known only as the cartographer, the sister and the mathematician, it tells a story of love that transcends a chaos that few of us could possibly imagine. The novel won the 2012 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, and was nominated for Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Debut Fiction (2012), and the Dobbie Literary Award(2011).

The story begins with the cartographer obsessively mapping her h
...more
David Fox
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks
I chanced across Lara Fergus's first novel, My Sister Chaos, while browsing. Intrigued by the title and cover art, I downloaded a preview. Within a few pages, I was hooked.

My Sister Chaos, is an intense story of twin sisters living as refugees from genocide. The main character, a cartographer, has found work in her profession and settled down alone. Her obsession with her project to map the house she rents in excruciating accuracy, retreating into a bubble which she can know completely and rati
...more
Trent
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Karen
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a beautiful book, albeit a little confusing and frustrating at times. The narrator's obsession with mapping her house made some sense as a response to the trauma of a war that changed the borders of her country, but sometimes I couldn't quite get into her mindset. I liked how towards the end it sometimes seemed unclear whether the two sisters were healing or losing their minds. It reminded me of the Yellow Wallpaper in that it was narrated by someone whose perspective on the world is in ...more
Jan
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Faith Reidenbach
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Izabella
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Laura
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting perspective on universal trauma through the eyes of one of its victims.
Barbara
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Engrossing - very quirky - loved it
svnh
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My god, does this book need a proper review. Coming soon.

For now: shelved as ecstasy.
the_bookshelf_explorer
rated it really liked it
May 27, 2011
Khulud Khamis
rated it really liked it
Mar 09, 2013
Ariane
rated it really liked it
May 07, 2016
Erica
rated it really liked it
Apr 09, 2012
Ellen
rated it really liked it
Aug 03, 2012
Hamish Danks Brown
rated it liked it
Dec 20, 2017
Jessica
rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2012
Sasha
rated it it was amazing
Jun 13, 2011
Claire Jordan
rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2017
Anna Hayman
rated it liked it
Jan 15, 2015
Rebecca Jessen
rated it really liked it
Mar 14, 2013
Elizabeth George
rated it liked it
Aug 10, 2014
Natalie
rated it really liked it
Mar 20, 2017
Le
rated it it was amazing
Feb 27, 2018
Inna
rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2021
Phyllis
rated it it was amazing
Apr 15, 2015
Dominique Wilson
rated it really liked it
Dec 19, 2012
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Bluffs
  • The Plague, The Fall, Exile and the Kingdom, and Selected Essays
  • The Bastard of Istanbul
  • Learn from the Almond Leaf
  • Britt-Marie Was Here
  • Astonishing the Gods
  • The Good People
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
29 likes · 6 comments