The Museum of Lost Love


Dispatches from the frontiers of love

Katia and Goran are in love. Tyler is in therapy. On a summer trip to Zagreb, the couple discover an unusual museum—a museum that displays mementos of broken relationships. Inside, Goran stumbles upon an exhibit that seems to be addressed to him, from a girl he met in a Sarajevo refugee camp at age fourteen. What follows is a whirlwind summer of reconnecting with lost pasts: Goran confronts the youth he lost during the Yugoslav Wars, Katia heads to Brazil to find her roots, and Afghanistan veteran Tyler pours out his soul. Set against alternating backdrops of violent circumstances, this novel is a soulful testament to the uncontainable flourishing of the human heart.

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Publication date

October 1, 2019




Gary Barker

Gary Barker is an author, researcher, and human rights activist. He is founder and director of Promundo, an international organization that works with… Read more

Book Club Questions

  1. Do you think Katia and Goran are a well-matched couple? Why, why not?
  2. How do you think Goran and Katia were affected by the exhibit in the museum in Zagreb?
  3. How do you think Nikoleta felt when Goran got in touch with her? How do you think she felt upon meeting Goran again?
  4. What do you think the experience of returning to the Balkans was like for Goran?
  5. What do you think the experience of going to Brazil was like for Katia?
  6. Why was Katia attracted to Felipe?
  7. How do you think both Katia and her grandmother felt upon their reunion?
  8. Which character in the book did you relate to the most/the least? Why?
  9. How do you think Tyler’s character developed over the course of the novel?
  10. What are the themes of the novel and in what ways are these presented?
  11. What are Katia’s, Goran’s, and Tyler’s strengths and weaknesses?
  12. Describe which of the museum submission stories you liked the best and explain why?
  13. Can you think of anything you would leave in such a museum, and is there a story to tell behind it?
  14. Why do you think people would want to send an object/story to such a museum? How do you think it helps people?


“These interconnected stories are both achingly affecting and archly realistic.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Gary Barker writes as beautifully and efficiently as any writer I’ve read―not an unnecessary sentence in the entire book. He is Hemingway without the false macho energy, and The Museum of Lost Love is an extraordinary testament to the enduring power of our pasts.” —RICHARD REYES-GAVILAN, Executive Director, Washington DC Public Libraries

“The emotional heft of The Museum of Lost Love is obvious from the first page and never lets up. The characters breathe, they love, they mourn. They stay with you.” —JENNIFER FOX, Writer/Director/Producer of the award-winning film The Tale

“War and love are eternal subjects of literature. Therefore, writing about them requires not only a brave, but also a skillful writer. Using The Museum of Lost Love as his frame, and mixing documents and stories, Gary Barker found an interesting way to connect his lovers over time and continents, telling about their moving, hopeless, tragic but also fulfilling struggles for love.” —SLAVENKA DRAKULIC