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Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland

Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland
  • Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland by Mia Gallagher


‘There is so much to say about this novel. It is sprawling, but not sloppy; messy, but not a mess. There will be as many readings of it as there are readers. Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland is challenging, it is brave, it is original, it is flawed, it is moving, it is fascinating. It is art.’

The Guardian

‘Rich in colour and broad in scope, and its many unruly pieces are similarly held in place by the strong voice of a central character...Gallagher’s writing is brilliant...Though somewhat baffling on the surface, Beautiful Pictures . . . is strangely coherent up close, like a magic-eye picture...a writer who doesn’t miss, or forget, a trick.’

- Sara Baume, The Irish Times

Visitors are reminded that they are about to enter the Wunderkammer, a floating chamber where normal spacetime conventions no longer apply…

A bomb blast in the London Underground rips through space and time, unearthing four stories that whirl, collide and pass each other by.

Sometime around now, Georgia Madden (who used to be Georgie) flees her Dublin home, embarking on a road trip spiked with the hidden dangers of her past and her present. In the 1970s, as the Madden family begins to disintegrate, a disruptive stranger arrived who will bind them, briefly. While the underground bomb ticks down, an elderly German woman, Anna Bauer, recounts her own war story to a film crew. And all along, fizzing and popping in a parallel reality, we, the ‘visitors’, are led through an unsettling and volatile Museum of Curiosities.

The past crosses and weaves with the present; generations are bound together and cleaved apart; future selves remember and forget who they once were. Forgiveness is sought, offered and withheld – and as they unspool, the fragmented lives of four people become a haunting whole, where time is unknowable.


‘Rich in colour and broad in scope, and its many unruly pieces are similarly held in place by the strong voice of a central character…Gallagher’s writing is brilliant…Though somewhat baffling on the surface, Beautiful Pictures . . . is strangely coherent up close, like a magic-eye picture…a writer who doesn’t miss, or forget, a trick.’ – Sara Baume, The Irish Times

‘The whole sticky mess of humanity and inhumanity is here… a massively ambitious novel…  it’s hard to better.’ – Sunday Independent

‘It would have been easy for Gallagher to turn Geo’s story into a blockbuster bestseller about transgendered identity. However, Beautiful Pictures is more interested in the binaries and doubleness of personal identity; the many lives we all live that produce the fleeting present moment…Comparisons with Joyce are inevitable…a gripping page-turner. David Mitchell fans, for example, will easily fall under its spell.’ – Sara Keating, Sunday Business Post

‘Nothing came near Mia Gallagher’s Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland for bravery and ambition this year. A skillful and fearless exploration of place, time and identity – it grapples the big themes to its heart. This is the Irish novel whose reputation will grow in the coming years.  A new generation of Irish writers may well take their lead from it.’ – Mike McCormack, Sunday Independent

‘Mia Gallagher’s remarkable Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland offers a flavour of past and potential lives. The story, which ostensibly centres on a transgendered film editor, takes the form of a montage, splicing together narratives from different periods to create a complex story about the binaries and doubleness of identity.’ – The Irish Times

‘Gallagher has left us with a fearless and defiant book. Generous, reckless, revealing and baffling, you come away from it with renewed faith in what the novel can achieve. You lay it down and think to yourself that if you could put one recent Irish novel into the hands of young writers with ambitions for the form this would be the one.

“Here,” you’d say, “this is what’s possible, these high peaks, these distant horizons. Go forth and experiment.”’ – Mike McCormack, author of Solar Bones and winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2016, The Irish Times

‘The reader is invited into an epic in miniature, into a shocking, century-spanning, peripatetic jigsaw made of pieces of human pain that intersect and slide into one another, and the moving parts of this jigsaw, that formally coalesce in such beautiful and subtle ways, are all masterfully performed tricks to avoid the inevitable, but ever-retreating, admission of pain and loss between a daughter and her estranged father… Gallagher, I believe, with Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland, has achieved some kind of formal evolution of the novel.’ –  Oisín Fagan, The Irish Times

‘Beautiful Pictures is no conventional door-stopper – it’s more of a portal-stopper; it’s no airport novel, it’s more a rocket launch pad novel! Everything about this book is surprising…it’s exciting and epic.’ – Rosemary Jenkinson, author of Aphrodite’s Kiss, 

‘New Island have done well to snare this, but we hope a UK publisher is also on the cards, because this book needs an international audience.’ – Bookmunch

‘a voluminous book, sprawling and … absorbing, digressive and endlessly surprising … its rendering is incredibly vivid … her characters are isolated and enigmatic souls … shown with a delicate intimacy.’ – Dublin Review of Books

‘‘a tightly wound story, intricately imagined and expertly told.’ – Books Ireland

‘Every page … is stuffed with prose of simple elegance that also displays human insight with brave, verging on cruel, description. Every permutation of family relationships is covered … We are all but individuals who each bear a certain private self we shall never reveal, for truth exposes us to more hurt than we can bear.’ –

‘I adored this thrillingly ambitious novel, which is intriguing, strange, yet seductive, too, in such clever and nuanced ways. A sheer pleasure to read.’ – Joseph O’Connor

‘A pitch-perfect rendering of Dublin today and yesterday, a devastating portrait of a family in grief, and a haunting account of the past’s pull on the present. As thrilling and inventive, as it is moving and profound. A major achievement.’ – Paul Murray


About the Author

Mia Gallagher was born in Dublin, where she lives and works. Her debut novel, HellFire, was widely acclaimed and received the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Literature Award in 2007, while her award-winning short fiction has been widely published and anthologised. Mia has received several Literature Bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland and has been writer-in-residence in many different environments, both at home and abroad. In a parallel universe, Mia works as a professional actor, performing in theatre, radio and occasionally film. Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland is her second novel.


Mia Gallagher


Trade Paperback





Release Date

May 2016


Additional Information

Weight .615 g
Dimensions .234 × .158 × .35 mm


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SKU: 9781848405066 - Need Help? Contact Us Leave Feedback

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