from the publisher: “Naomi, a Native chambermaid in a busy downtown hotel, amuses herself by imagining the past, present and future lives of five hotel guests, whom she observed in passing, in the hotel lobby and through relics left in their rooms. Struck by their remains, their footprints and their clues, Naomi patches them together to weave tales of infatuation, love, infidelity, illness, death and family.”
- Naomi, the house keeper who cleans the rooms and makes up her stories about the people who stay in them, once she sees what they left behind.
Storyline Main Plots:
- Room 414: the main character is a indigenous prostitute who is brought into the hotel by a john, and leaves while he sleeps, and her story emerges as she is the granddaughter of the local “witch” in her area, on her dad’s side. She struggles with identifying with her culture, especially as she becomes a sex-worker – she wonders how she would explain that to any elder. When she comes back, she finds the john is dead, and she takes the money, an leaves, presumingly heading home/back to the family, as she talks about being ‘set free.’
- Room 502 – the tenant is a gay Metis man who has cancer, and decides to die alone/by suicide in a hotel room surrounded by his favourite hats and items. His beloved was the owner of a antique shop an would constantly encourage the man’s cultural identity by buying him history books, autobiographies, and a Métis sash. He left instruction how how he wanted to be buried, with the Métis sash around his waist.
- Room 106 – is one of my favourites about the Cree photographer who manages to intermingle his everlasting quest of sexual exploration and cultural identity through photography until the very end. He travels to Africa in search of what it means to be cultural, and end up finding himself in the images of his own community, while snagging with a local teacher.
- Room 207 – Constance is the woman in love with an strong, Indigenous man who is married. She tells herself that he will leave his wife, that he makes her powerful, etc. Then she finds out he is having a baby with his wife, and she sees him with open eyes. He needs her to feel powerful, to remind himself that he still has it. She leaves.
- Room 304 – Natalie finds a diary and becomes the main event, reading the story about a woman who has a complicated relationship with her fiend Nathanial, who loved her but she messed up, and a year or so later, wanted to give it a try. They all end up at the local powwow which is what made all the indigenous people gather that weekend.
- community – the indigenous crowd gathering in the city for the powwow, the search for family and connection in the stories
- sexuality – the use of sexuality – both by the story and the characters – showcase the various ways that sexually has root in our lives – from sex worker to masturbation, these stories carry it all
- identity – all these characters are looking of parts of themselves, and while the indigenous identity is not the forefront, it does guide the journey, and they figure out other aspects of themselves along the way
buy the book: Red Rooms