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The Red Tent: A Novel Paperback – Aug 21 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 10th Anniversary Edition edition (Aug. 21 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312427298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312427290
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,087 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

The red tent is the place where women gathered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and even illness. Like the conversations and mysteries held within this feminine tent, this sweeping piece of fiction offers an insider's look at the daily life of a biblical sorority of mothers and wives and their one and only daughter, Dinah. Told in the voice of Jacob's daughter Dinah (who only received a glimpse of recognition in the Book of Genesis), we are privy to the fascinating feminine characters who bled within the red tent. In a confiding and poetic voice, Dinah whispers stories of her four mothers, Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah--all wives to Jacob, and each one embodying unique feminine traits. As she reveals these sensual and emotionally charged stories we learn of birthing miracles, slaves, artisans, household gods, and sisterhood secrets. Eventually Dinah delves into her own saga of betrayals, grief, and a call to midwifery.

"Like any sisters who live together and share a husband, my mother and aunties spun a sticky web of loyalties and grudges," Anita Diamant writes in the voice of Dinah. "They traded secrets like bracelets, and these were handed down to me the only surviving girl. They told me things I was too young to hear. They held my face between their hands and made me swear to remember." Remembering women's earthy stories and passionate history is indeed the theme of this magnificent book. In fact, it's been said that The Red Tent is what the Bible might have been had it been written by God's daughters, instead of her sons. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Skillfully interweaving biblical tales with events and characters of her own invention, Diamant's (Living a Jewish Life, HarperCollins, 1991) sweeping first novel re-creates the life of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob, from her birth and happy childhood in Mesopotamia through her years in Canaan and death in Egypt. When Dinah reaches puberty and enters the Red Tent (the place women visit to give birth or have their monthly periods), her mother and Jacob's three other wives initiate her into the religious and sexual practices of the tribe. Diamant sympathetically describes Dinah's doomed relationship with Shalem, son of a ruler of Shechem, and his brutal death at the hands of her brothers. Following the events in Canaan, a pregnant Dinah travels to Egypt, where she becomes a noted midwife. Diamant has written a thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating portrait of a fascinating woman and the life she might have lived. Recommended for all public libraries.
-?Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cookie Everman on July 2 2004
Format: Hardcover
We have been lost to each other for so long...I am so grateful you have come...Blessings on your eyes. Blessings on your children. Blessings on the ground beneath you. My heart is a ladle of sweet water, brimming over. Selah."
As of 082903, this book is among the Top Ten Most Popular (most registered) Books on BookCrossing.com. It's not hard to see why. It's the kind of book that should be passed from sister to sister, mother to daughter, generation to generation. Women in the Bible have generally been portrayed as virgins or harlots, often serving as postscripts to the more familiar stories of men who begat men. But who gives birth to those men? Strong, splendid, complicated, terrible, beautiful women.
Anita Diamant weaves a compelling tale of the most vivid, human characters. Her writing flows like the Nile. Rock on.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19 2004
Format: Paperback
I loved this book for all the same reasons everyone else did, but I must add that it was very refreshing to read a book with such a unique format. The format of most stories and novels goes: 1. introduction 2. rising action 3. climax 4. falling action 5. resolution
However, "The Red Tent" has no rising action, so the climax hits you like a ton of bricks making for a very unpredictable story. Then, the story continues to rise and fall in very atypical undulations. I love this completely unpredictable format.
One last remark I must make is that I appreciate how Diamant makes no bones about this book being "based on" or having a direct correlation to the stories in the bible. On the very first page of the book she cautions the reader that the stories and names in "The Red Tent" may be similar to those of the Bible, but she is in no way implying that they are true or should be believed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Melissa on May 7 2011
Format: Paperback
This book had been sitting on my shelf for over a year before I decided to pick it up and give it a try. My mother had recommended it to me, but I was hesitant to read it because of the biblical storyline. I am not very religious, so I was unfamiliar with many of the characters that were presented, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that my lack of knowledge about the history did not prevent my understanding and enjoyment of this book.

It is the story of Dinah, who is barely mentioned in Genesis, told from her point of view: from the time of her father's meeting of her mother and three 'mother-aunties,' through her childhood, to her first marriage followed by unbelievable grief, and into the later years of her life as a renowned midwife. There are several dramatic plot twists that held my attention and forced me to keep reading to find out what would happen, more so in the second half of the book than in the first.

I would recommend this book to anyone, even those who are unfamiliar with the story from the Bible.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Reb on Feb. 15 2007
Format: Paperback
I must be a late bloomer - it is 2007 and I just read the book loaned to me by a neighbour when I recently broke both my ankles.It is wonderful and as the Boston Globe says "this is what the Bible would read like if it were written by a woman". I concur - this book was wonderful - gave me a sense of the time, the life of women, the life between women and men. The people who complain about the facts should stick to reading the Bible if that is what they are looking for. I loved being able to read about characters that I had heard about in an interesting way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "duckangel33" on June 30 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm not religious. What I know about the bible, I know from being preached to by pius people, television & grandparents.
The story of Jacob was completely new to me, and while reading this book I rented the religious film "Jacob" to compare the stories... The book was awsome, but I'm glad I compared it to the patriarchal version of events, because I realized how horribly unrealistic the "biblical" story was, compared to this work of fiction.
It's a wonderful story that should be read by every woman... especially those who take their priveledges & rights for grantid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Caradae Linore on June 25 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure whether men would like this book, but as a woman, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The red tent is where the women in this Biblical story go when they're on their periods, to give you an idea of what this book is about. I fell in love with all of the characters. The plot is fascinating and fast-paced. The style is beautiful. The fact that the author took one little passage from the Bible and based this entire book on it is remarkable. This book is how the Bible would have been if a woman had written it. A great idea, and well executed.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By bookishgal25 on Aug. 11 2004
Format: Paperback
One of my favourtie books--ever! Give copies to your girlfriends and they will love it too.
I originally thought this was a book about biblical issues--the treatment of women, the brutality of life, the differences in politics--but it is about so much more than that. The core of this story of Dinah is about sisterhood, the bonds between women, and how history often forgets there moving and deeply personal experiences. It's not an Oprah book or a feminist rant, the author is too subtle for that.
The Red Tent is engrossing, mesmerizing, and unforgettable. Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.T. on Aug. 22 2009
Format: Paperback
I loved every moment of this novel. It brought me to tears on numerous occasions. As an exploration of womanhood, childbirth, and all the pain and joy of being women it is without compare. It explored the interesting balance between early Judaism as it coexisted with paganism, even within the same family...and it chronicled the destruction of the power of the goddess image that was inherent in the move to monotheism. It is important for people to recognize that the god of Abram was NOT viewed by early Hebrews in the same way that the diety is now. Whether one sees the god changing or man's (and here I emphasize MAN's) understanding of that god deepening, is irrelevant. The erosion of women's power is a fact of religious history. I found her historically accurate in her depictions of cultural variances between the Canaanites, the Jacobites and the Egyptians. I also found it fabulous the way the three intermixed as they clearly had to have. Men do not come off as horrid en masse and those who do like Levi and Simeon didn't fare too well in the Bible either. Her story is about women and she captures us in all our glory and folly weaving a story of complexity and profundity that left me both heart-broken and enlivened.
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