While the Kootenay scenery is remarkable and lovingly depicted, what makes Mountain Blues so memorable are the many colourful characters which inhabit the book. There are the loggers, the new-agers, the aging hippies, and Roy Breen himself (the novel’s narrator, an escapee journalist from Vancouver). The interpersonal relationships between these groups is highly dynamic, and emotions frequently run high when characters meet face-to-face.
Those who are not obviously eccentric tend to be highly political and often the border between these two states is blurred.
Most of the action in the novel takes place in and around the tiny town of El Dorado (population 796). But, as Roy Breen says, this is no “proto-Appalachian village.” Its citizens are well-versed in the tactics of protest and peaceful disobedience. When their hospital is threatened with reduced hours, they mobilize quickly and creatively and become a major headache for the bureaucrats back in Victoria.
But here’s the kicker: El Dorado has one great advantage over Cicely; it’s a real place. Read Joyce’s book first, then go find it. It's published by NuWest Press.