Red Rooms.


160 pages
ISBN 978-1-894778-38-3
DDC C813'.6





Reviewed by Lori A. Dunn

Lori A. Dunn is a ESL teacher, instructional designer, and freelance
writer in New Westminster, B.C.


Red Rooms is a collection of stories bound together by an ingenious premise, namely, a First Nations chambermaid who works in a busy hotel. The underlying scenario is hers, and the patrons of the hotel are her muses, inspiring our narrator to heights of biographical fantasy.


While most of the patrons that catch her attention are Native, the stories that result reflect an emotional fabric that is universal. A dead body found in a room inspires a tale of magical realism where a young Native woman turning tricks in the hotel finds herself having visions that will save her. Another death in the hotel, this time of a patron she has spoken to, leads to a caring biographical sketch of his imagined life. Our narrator watches a beautiful man leave the hotel, and imagines what brought him here, imbuing the story of a woman struggling over the relationship with all the richness of a novel. A found photo inspires the creation of a biographical account of the photographer. A found diary, once read, is returned to the hotel room drawer, and the creative narrator tells us how it changes a woman's life.


Cheri Dimaline's collection of urban tales are outstanding, and have been referred to as a "Native Rosetta Stone" for their ability to translate the perceptions of the modern day First Nations individual for a broader audience. Strong narrative and moving character sketches bring a welcome depth to these stories.



Dimaline, Cherie., “Red Rooms.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,