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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

Paperback, 204 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Spinifex Press (first published September 1st 2010)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
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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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting perspective on universal trauma through the eyes of one of its victims.
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Engrossing - very quirky - loved it
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My god, does this book need a proper review. Coming soon.

For now: shelved as ecstasy.
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