In praise of Mia Gallagher, by Anne Gildea

Irish Women Writers: ‘Mia is the real deal, one history will remember’

 Mia Gallagher: So thrillingly unputdownable is her debut novel, Hellfire, that someone picked up my copy a few years back, and I haven’t seen it since, but the moon as a “smudged penny” and the candle-lit shadows of junkies on a derelict stairwell, flaring up like massive-winged black angels, are a couple of hermyriad vivid images that have stuck in the bonce since.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Mia Gallagher: So thrillingly unputdownable is her debut novel, Hellfire, that someone picked up my copy a few years back, and I haven’t seen it since, but the moon as a “smudged penny” and the candle-lit shadows of junkies on a derelict stairwell, flaring up like massive-winged black angels, are a couple of hermyriad vivid images that have stuck in the bonce since.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

My love does be the comedy, but in the odd absence of an Irish female Flann O’Brien, my nod goes to the authoress of a 666-page lump of a novel. Published in 2006, Hellfire is the relentless inner monologue of protagonist Lucy Dolan, inner-city junkie, just out of prison, retelling the story of herself to make sense of her raddled journey from womb to now. The Dublin it evokes is a dirty gothic heroin- and poverty-addled pit, webbed over with multiple sorry stories, streaked through with sinister myth.

So thrillingly unputdownable is this debut novel, that someone picked up my copy a few years back, and I haven’t seen it since, but the moon as a “smudged penny” and the candle-lit shadows of junkies on a derelict stairwell, flaring up like massive-winged black angels, are a couple of Mia Gallagher’s myriad vivid images that have stuck in the bonce since.

Hellfire’s follow-up? I hear it’s huge, that it’s with publishers. I’ll be on the Kindle as soon as it’s out. Mia is the real deal, one history will remember.

Other favourites: Eimear MacBride and Marina Carr

Anne Gildea is a writer, actor, comedian and co-founder of The Nualas. Her books are Deadlines and Dickheads and I’ve Got Cancer, What’s Your Excuse?

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