November 14, 2022 7:58 AM EST

Though readers may associate Kate Beaton with the quirky, light-hearted humor of her historical digital comic series Hark! A Vagrant, she gives the medium a more sobering treatment with her first full-length graphic memoir Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands. It’s a searing and layered account of Beaton’s harrowing experiences working in Alberta’s oil fields to pay off her student loans. Over her two years in the oil sands, Beaton works long, high-risk shifts during which she confronts her complicity in Big Oil in spite of its environmental consequences and harm to Indigenous peoples. But the danger posed isn’t just to the natural resources and land of Alberta, Canada. As one of few women working in the field, Beaton faces routine sexism and sexual harassment, and eventually rape, which she draws as a stark parallel to the effects of oil companies on the land in this complex and unforgettable personal narrative. —Cady Lang

Buy Now: Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands on Bookshop | Amazon

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