The Red Tent - 20th Anniversary Edition: A Novel Paperback – Aug 21 2007
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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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
In the bible, Dinah's story is quite traumatic. Despite the warnings of her family from hanging out in Canaan, Dinah goes to the sinful city and gets raped. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Book Cupid
This book was amazing. While I understand it was fictional, it changed my perspective a bit on what the menstrual time of the month means and how my original perspective affected... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rose Anne van der Heiden
When I first started reading The Red Tent, I was really excited. I thought, "Boy, I'm going to love this -- the setting, the idea of a small, hillside community, the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mys M
I loved the refreshing take on women, being a mother, a daughter, a midwife, a child bearer, a woman in labour, a cook, the head of a household and so on. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Katarina
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