My Sister Chaos

Lara Fergus

My Sister Chaos
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My Sister Chaos

Lara Fergus

An obsessive-compulsive cartographer trapped in the mapping of her own house. A painter turned code-breaker trying to find the lover she lost in the war. Two sisters on a collision course. In this book, two sisters escape an unknown war-torn country into separate lives of exile. The cartographer is obsessed with keeping the world in order, but finds it unravelling under her own demands. Her sister, an artist, arrives unexpectedly. Her very presence is a sign of chaos for the cartographer. But in spite of this, the sister has a firm grip on the real world, and a greater connection to the past. Chaos and order in tension provide the scaffolding for this compelling work of fiction. Presented within a world of obsession and trauma it asks whether any of us is immune to the forces of destruction. How do you know when to finish what you start? How do you know when to give up on control? How do you move on?

Review

Nothing in this elegant, brilliant debut is out of place – it has obviously been crafted with thought and care. Its graceful structure reflects its content, and its compelling, well-paced plot artfully ties humanity’s most profound struggles and tragedies to maths and mapmaking.

The story is told mainly in the grammatically precise but emotionally complex words of a cartographer. Her unnamed nation was ripped apart by a brutal civil war, and she and her twin sister were forced to become refugees. After their arrival in a foreign land, her sister abandoned her. Yet life goes on. Her colleagues have little idea of what she’s survived, and no one knows that she’s wearing her last connection to her devastated country on a chain around her neck. In her own time she meticulously maps her house, confining her private life to exacting measurements and repetitive actions. Until one day, her sister shows up. While they live together, chaos gradually slips through the cracks of the cartographer’s rigidly ordered mind. Secrets are revealed in gripping, heart-wrenching sequences, and disturbing realities are confronted.

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