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4 thoughts on “Mountain Blues

  1. Caroline Woodward Caroline Woodward says:

    “Well I’m a reporter just new in town Looking for work” So begins Roy Breen’s introduction to life in a small village in the West Kootenays to the love of his life to witnessing inspired community resistance to centralized decision making and fortuitously for them all his new employer While covering stories of all descriptions for the Mountain Echo Roy Breen recovers from a hectic fifteen years as a Vancouver reporter He’d paid his journalistic dues there only to be shunted away from a City Hall beat promotion by a lesser paid cub reporter no thanks to a change in ownership in the leaner meaner millennium Fed up with this corporate treatment Breen uits and heads to the British Columbia Interior where he was born and raised He and his cat spend some uality camping time roaming through four of BC’s six mountain chains before ending up in an old silver mining village beside a glacier fed lake remarkably resembling New Denver merged with Silverton The lyrical valley and village descriptions will make many readers want to uit their own stuffy city trapped jobs and move there themselvesThe Mountain Echo over still pays its writers and actually employs a proofreader and fact checker which along with reference librarians have been dismissed by metro dailies in Vancouver and elsewhere But then the odds of running into the main antagonists at the previous evening’s meeting en route to the village Post Office is much higher in El Dorado as well and the new reporter in town has to tread carefully and tactfully The first major issue is the shocking announcement that the El Dorado Hospital will be shut down within weeks Vans arrive in a startling display of efficiency from the centralized health authority to remove vital X ray euipment But the villagers are resourceful veterans of blockade lines and have organized a telephone tree which loops around the communities dependent on the emergency ward the doctors the extended care wing for bedridden elders and volunteers arrive by the dozens and stay there round the clock We are introduced to the many and varied forms of peaceful resistance from individual hunger strikes to protest “crawls” yes not walks but crawls which are commonplace in religious approaches by supplicants near cathedrals in South America on their knees as they cross stony plazas We go behind the scenes to understand how difficult it is for a level headed co ordinator to deal with highly individualistic types who threaten violence and sabotage and would thereby threaten the credibility of the entire protest We also understand about the conflict and ethical considerations of our reporter narrator who has always tilted to the side of the underdogs and been reprimanded for it in the big city daily But here he puts a writerly foot wrong once and is hollered at most profanely by the normally level headed organizer herself a statuesue beauty who is a natural leader in the community We also get to meet the public relations bureaucrat from the regional health authority who must deliver the bad news about the hospital closure and he as you might suspect gets his comeuppance soon enough Throughout it all Sean Arthur Joyce uses a light deft touch for topics that could be heavily righteous slogging His characters are completely 3 D and his dialogue is a delight to ‘hear’ as it is so realistic in its rhythms which sets each distinct character apart from the next no easy feat The humour is gentle and tolerant and reminds us that when we live in a small community the most sound advice would be Let your words be gentle in case they come back to bite you For a journalist this means striving for fairness depth and objectivity and not ‘piling on’ the blame in this era of rushing to often violent judgement propelled by self serving vindictive and ultimately irresponsible tweets The love story which unfolds is also a delight and we readers cheer on the middle aged lonely hearts who are instantly attracted and find each other to be excellent company in the midst of the strife afflicting the villagers The cafes in El Dorado serve great coffee even if the wait staff tend to editorialize the hapless new reporter’s latest efforts and the mountain water is sublimely pure the basis for all great coffee lest we forget Pack your bags and head for the West Kootenay mountains especially the Valhalla Range a copy of the big hearted Mountain Blues nearby best read aloud by kindred spirits en route especially those in need of that special blend of glorious wilderness and resolutely alive no nonsense ‘stand up to protect it or lose it forever’ community that beckons within its pages

  2. Brian Deon Brian Deon says:

    In Mountain Blues author Sean Arthur Joyce takes the reader on an intimate journey through the fictional Glacier Valley and the tiny mountain towns which hug the shores of Sapphire and Sturgeon Lake 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 freuently run high when characters meet face to face Prominent among the cast of eccentrics is Moss the rastafarian Jamaican expat Moonglow the flower child Marie Louise the heavy smoking Metis and Bill Radford the “local contrarian” 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 uickly and creatively and become a major headache for the bureaucrats back in Victoria Joyce is not afraid to tackle serious issues such as truth and fiction in the media the perils of materialism the efficacy of political protest and the mistreatment of First Nations Yet even while dealing with these serious topics Joyce cannot hide the love he has for his characters He loves not just their strengths but their flaws their best intentions their sweet humanity Almost as much he loves the place where they live and truly it is a special place El Dorado lives up to its name if one thinks of gold in a metaphorical sense The lifestyle of the valley is golden It is a hidden Shangri la among the mountains It echoes strongly of the town of Cicely from the television series Northern Exposure whose elouent and earthy characters inhabited a special place in the imaginations of many throughout the Nineties 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 377

  3. Marcy Mahr Marcy Mahr says:

    Mountain Blues is entertaining insightful and reads like a movie Joyce's keen attention to detail invites you to walk around town like a local The unpredictable resourcefulness and uniue brand of humour of Eldorado's citizens puts a clever twist on David and Goliath as this small community stands up to big government bureaucracy and shines a bright light on the impact that arbitrary urban thinking can have on the heart of a rural community And it's this strong rural pulse that makes Mountain Blues such a page turner

  4. John John says:

    What you'd expect from a book written by a reporter A report not a story Big citybad uaint rustic villagegood Went through this one uickly No TV and it was raining

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Mountain Blues [Read] ➭ Mountain Blues ➵ Sean Arthur Joyce – Welcome to Eldorado a small mountain town in the Kootenays chock a block with aging hippies eccentrics loggers and protestors When Roy Breen moves to Eldorado after over a decade of working as a journ Welcome to Eldorado a small mountain town in the Kootenays chock a block with aging hippies eccentrics loggers and protestors When Roy Breen moves to Eldorado after over a decade of working as a journalist in Vancouver he is impressed by the soaring glacial vistas and the friendliness of the townsfolk as well as the uality of the coffee they pour Unfortunately the threat of cutbacks is looming over the local hospital and Roy must find a way to balance his journalistic integrity with the need to join his new neighbours in fighting to keep the hospital openIn the vein of Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town poet Sean Arthur Joyce's debut novel Mountain Blues is a tale of warmth and joviality.

  • Paperback
  • 248 pages
  • Mountain Blues
  • Sean Arthur Joyce
  • 20 June 2016
  • 9781988732305