Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands

English language

Published Dec. 5, 2022

ISBN:
978-1-77046-289-2
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5 stars (53 reviews)

10 editions

The best graphic novel I have read in years

5 stars

I have read and enjoyed Beaton's other work, including Hark! A Vagrant and Step Aside Pops, both of which are whimsical and impish re-imagining of historical figures and events that I found both irreverent and delightful.

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, is something different entirely, an autobiographical telling of Beaton's time working for oil companies in Northern Alberta, and there is very little whimsy here. Graduating from college and having to pay a significant student loan, and facing a lack of jobs in her home province of Nova Scotia, Beaton takes a job in the oil sands, where pay is good, even if the work and conditions are rough. It's a bargain she reconsiders multiple times, particularly as she lives with daily sexual harassment or worse, the isolation of the camps, the physical toll and safety hazards of the work, and homesickness. She depicts her fellow workers in …

Apariencia sencilla, vida que se despliega

4 stars

Sorprendido para bien por esta novela gráfica que se va desplegando poco a poco. Que comienza con ciertos aires de inocencia demasiado 'sospechosa' y naíf, pero que enseguida vemos que se dirige hacia otra cosa, que se abre hacia temas variados y muy humanos. Apuesta la historia por desplegar sin manierismos temas variados como la ecología, el feminismo, la violencia sexual, la moral condicionada por el espacio físico, el capitalismo haciendo estragos en las gentes y los territorios... He incluido esta lectura en la lista de #lecturascasaarbol porque va de cómo el paisaje y las condiciones físicas en las que se viven condicionan las acciones y los pensamientos, también el sentir, de las gentes. Porque vemos como la ambición de una corporación que se lava las manos hace que no importe más que el dinero, que olvidemos la vida en sus variadas dimensiones, que existir no es trabajar ni todo …

Engrossing from start to finish

5 stars

I've long been a fan of Kate Beaton's work (King Baby was one of my favorite books we read to my kid when he was a baby!), but I wasn't prepared for the emotional impact of Ducks. The wry humor in the slice of life portions were a great foundation for the deeper impacts of life at the camps, and Beaton imbues everyone with such humanity that I felt for everyone even though the impact of the work down at the sands is so horrific.

Review of 'Ducks' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

One thing I wish I had known before I had started so that I could be a bit more prepared: this book deals with rape.

What's really wonderful about this book is that Beaton never loses sight of the humanity of the people around her, no matter how many awful things someone does she can remember that they too are a complete complicated messy human.

Review of 'Ducks' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This memoir was really quite harrowing. They are coy about it in the marketing, but it is largely dominated by the terrible misogyny and harassment Kate Beaton experienced in the extremely male dominated environment she worked in. It was a deeply affecting read, and while it was difficult at times, it gave a portrait of a place and time that was really impressive.

a world of violations

5 stars

“Enjoy” isn’t quite the right word for a read that’s about something as nuanced and anguished as this is, but it’s also apt. I lingered over it and zoomed through it. It’s generous and devastating, sympathetic to the awful positions poor people find themselves in to get by and to the ways it warps who they are, and devastating in how it depicts the violence directed at everyone—women and the land, especially, but also the men who are used up without regard to turn profits for the company.

Not an easy read, but a good one

5 stars

Content warning CW: sexual violence

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