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New Island publishes some of the best fiction written in Ireland. From literary fiction and short stories, to chilling crime, you’ll always find a book to transport you.

Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland

Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland


by Mia Gallagher

A stunningly written epic novel of by one of Ireland’s finest living writers.

Paperback | 9781848405066 | 500 pp | Published May 2016

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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.


The whole sticky mess of humanity and inhumanity is here… a massively ambitious novel… it’s hard to better.
— Sunday Independent
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
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 ... 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
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
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
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 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
a tightly wound story, intricately imagined and expertly told.
— Books Ireland
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