Babe in the Woods

or, The Art of Getting Lost


By Julie Heffernan

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$37.99 CAD



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From acclaimed painter Julie Heffernan, a wholly original and visually stunning four-color graphic work of autofiction about a young mother who—lost overnight on a hike with her infant son—experiences an extraordinary journey of memory, remorse, and rebirth that offers her a new way of seeing the world; for readers of Alison Bechdel, Roz Chast, and Marjane Satrapi. 

One summer day, a young artist with a newborn—sleep-deprived, desperate to escape her hot, cramped apartment and her oblivious husband—sets off on a hike in the country with her baby boy, Sam, strapped to her front and her senses fully attuned to the colors, the sounds, and the flora and fauna in the woods around her. During her journey, Julie reflects on her childhood, her parents, her marriage, and her path to becoming a painter. Her memories soon merge with the imaginative pictorial worlds she invents in her work, creating a glorious and perturbing narrative.

When Julie suddenly realizes that they are lost, with few supplies, as darkness begins to set in, she must come to terms with the sudden gravity of her situation and invent tools for coping. She then discovers her own resourcefulness: snacking on wild garlic and fixing a torn shoe; tucking herself and her baby into a cave for the night; climbing a tall tree for a better vantage point. Each step in the unknown terrain of the forest leads her deeper into a reckoning with survival and unresolved past issues. She invokes the struggles of painters like Artemesia Gentileschi, women’s strength in Rubens’ Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus, and the plights of activists like Julia Butterfly Hill, illuminating how great art can be a vehicle for perspective—how it teaches us how to see, think, and navigate obstacles and wonders and find one's way out into a capacious and self-determined life.

Beautifully told and illustrated by an established fine painter whose work has been collected around the world, Julie Heffernan's Babe in the Woods is an extraordinary journey of memory, remorse, and rebirth, and a powerful lesson in trust in one's self, offering a new way of seeing for anyone who feels lost in the world.


  • "I love this! My words cannot do it justice."
    Roz Chast, bestselling author of Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? and I Must Be Dreaming
  • "Julie Heffernan’s mind-bending journey into a graphic cosmos of beauty, strange nightmares, and sublime fantastical visionary brilliance is a trip anyone will love taking."
    Jerry Saltz, Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic for New York Magazine and bestselling author of How to Be an Artist
  • "Giotto and Georgia O’Keeffe are not going to give us graphic novels, but another great painter has: Julie Heffernan. Her reverie about getting lost in the woods with a baby strapped to her is many kinds of beauty: the sheer visual beauty of her paintings and drawings here, the beauty of introspection and of the brilliant exposition of a reverie during a walk that went too far into the unknown. Or just far enough to find those things that can be found no other way."
    Rebecca Solnit, award-winning author of A Field Guide to Getting Lost
  • "This is unlike any book I've ever read: enchanting. It's funny, and angry and political, full of grief, and beauty, and hope--and it's weird, and beautiful and full of mystery. It's a hero's journey where the hero is a female artist, a wife and mother with a baby strapped to her chest who is searching for a new, more authentic way to be in the world."
    Elissa Schappell, author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls and Use Me, co-founder of Tin House magazine
  • "Visual and emotional narrative dynamite. Julie Heffernan's vision, artwork, and paintings are dazzling, masterful, deep, evocative, irreverent, and lush as she travels the world of the collective unconscious. She is a very, very special soul and artist."
    David O. Russell, award-winning filmmaker
  • "I've admired Julie Heffernan's sublime paintings for decades. Babe in the Woods is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. Brilliant, engaging and elegant!"
    Emil Ferris, author of My Favorite Thing is Monsters

On Sale
Sep 3, 2024
Page Count
240 pages
Algonquin Books

Julie Heffernan

About the Author

Julie Heffernan is a Professor of Fine Arts at Montclair State University, represented by Hirschl & Adler Modern in New York and Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. Heffernan has had over 50 solo exhibitions nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous grants including an NEA, NYFA and Fullbright Fellowship. Her work has been reviewed by major publications including the New York Times, Art in America and Artforum; and it is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum and VMFA among others. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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