cover image Babe in the Woods: or, the Art of Getting Lost

Babe in the Woods: or, the Art of Getting Lost

Julie Heffernan. Algonquin, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-643-75559-5

In this stunning graphic memoir debut, painter Heffernan sets out with her infant son on a hike that begins in the tradition of the flaneur and ends as a survival story. Their walk in the woods offers plenty of time for contemplation of the past and present. Heffernan addresses her deceased mother and recalls her childhood as the youngest of a large Catholic family, who shared a world of imagination and stories with her closest sister. But Heffernan is unprepared for the wilderness, and the seductive mystery of nature dissolves when she realizes she is lost and will have to spend the night outdoors with her baby. After her initial panic, she finds an inner resolve that propels her toward survival (and the nearest highway). The work is a love letter to the strange, intimate, and ecstatic wrung from everyday life. Heffernan’s detailed, finely wrought pages are punctuated with her own bright, surreal paintings, as well as those by the likes of Artemisia Gentileschi, El Greco, and Vermeer. As Heffernan shows, the imagination requires care and attention—much like nature. This vivid narrative is a breathtaking homage to both. Agent: Lyn DelliQuadri, Lahr & Partners. (Sept.)