Two Years in the Oil Sands: One of Barack Obama’s Favourite Books of 2022

Kate Beaton author


Publisher:Vintage Publishing

Published:15th Sep '22


Available for immediate dispatch.

Ducks cover


'A vast and complex tapestry that captures the humanity of people... it shimmers with grace'

Before there was Kate Beaton, New York Times bestselling cartoonist of Hark A Vagrant, there was Katie Beaton of the Cape Breton Beatons, a tight-knit seaside community. After university, Katie heads out west to take advantage of Alberta's oil rush, part of the long tradition of East Coast Canadians who seek gainful employment elsewhere when they can't find it in the homeland they love so much. With the singular goal of paying off her student loans, what the journey will actually cost Katie will be far more than she anticipates.

Arriving in Fort McMurray, Katie finds work in the lucrative camps owned and operated by the world's largest oil companies. As one of the few women among thousands of men, the culture shock is palpable. It does not hit home until she moves to a spartan, isolated worksite for higher pay. Katie encounters the harsh reality of life in the oil sands where trauma is an everyday occurrence yet never discussed. For young Katie, her wounds may never heal.

Beaton's natural cartooning prowess is on full display as she draws colossal machinery and mammoth vehicles set against a sublime Albertan backdrop of wildlife, Northern Lights, and Rocky Mountains. Her first full length graphic narrative, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is an untold story of Canada: a country that prides itself on its egalitarian ethos and natural beauty while simultaneously exploiting both the riches of its land and the humanity of its people.

What a difficult, gorgeous and abidingly humane book. It really does deserve to win all the prizes. * Observer *
A magnificent piece of work....Ducks feels like a book that holds its own alongside the likes of both Guy Delisle (for the travelogue-y aspects of the book) and Joe Sacco (for the more political aspects of the book) whilst, crucially, carving out something of its very own... One of (if not the) standout graphic novels of 2022. * Bookmunch *
Beaton delivers a masterpiece graphic memoir * Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review) *
A masterpiece, a heartbreak, a nightlight shining in the dark. -- Patricia Lockwood, author of No One Is Talking About This
Devastating. Despite the brutal toll Beaton suffered personally, she has woven from her experience a vast and complex tapestry that captures the humanity of people doing a kind of "dirty work" in which we are all complicit, and it shimmers with grace. -- Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home

ISBN: 9781787330139

Dimensions: 235mm x 180mm x 41mm

Weight: 1260g

436 pages