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The red tent / Anita Diamant by Anita…

The red tent / Anita Diamant (edition 1997)

by Anita Diamant

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12,555283191 (4.06)343
Title:The red tent / Anita Diamant
Authors:Anita Diamant
Info:New York : A Wyatt Book for St. Martin's Press, 1997. {audio edition, performed by Carol Bilger. Only got into 2nd chapter. hated it.}
Collections:Not For Me
Tags:( FICTION, .historical fiction, abandoned, {cover-member, | hated it

Work details

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

  1. 100
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (wosret, Kaelkivial)
    Kaelkivial: Both stories of strong women who resist (in one form or another) the system that holds them down. Both books fairly fast paced and gripping; acts of violence and loss scattered throughout.
  2. 30
    Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (sweetbug)
    sweetbug: Both books take minor female characters from great works and create a larger story for them. The two books also deal with similar themes including women who challenge gender rolls and the relationships between mothers (or surrogate mothers) and daughters.
  3. 20
    Zipporah, Wife of Moses by Marek Halter (joririchardson)
  4. 20
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: The two novels convey the same idea of reclaiming the story of a marginal woman from a great male narrative, telling the story from a new, feminine perspective.
  5. 10
    Mary, Called Magdalene by Margaret George (meggyweg)
  6. 00
    The Cave Dreamers by Jeanne Williams (juniperSun)
    juniperSun: both have women passing on their spirituality/goddess knowledge secretly
  7. 00
    Wisdom's Daughter: A Novel of Solomon and Sheba by India Edghill (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Wisdom's Daughter and The Red Tent bring the Bible to life for modern readers through their historically detailed and emotional retelling of two stories of love and family honor. Additionally, both are viewed and interpreted through a women's perspective.… (more)
  8. 00
    The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Another beautifully written historical fiction with a focus around mother daughter relationships.
  9. 11
    I Been in Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots by Susan Straight (shesinplainview)
  10. 00
    The Garden of Ruth by Eva Etzioni-Halevy (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The Red Tent and The Garden of Ruth provide female-centered interpretations of Biblical stories. These books are full of political and familial drama, centered in the early ages of Judaism.
  11. 01
    In the Shadow of the Ark by Anne Provoost (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both books have a similar atmosphere and setting, and both are based on biblical events.
  12. 02
    The Gilded Chamber by Rebecca Kohn (themephi)
  13. 02
    Not the End of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean (SandSing7)

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A biblical tale and fictional account based on the story of Dinah from Genesis. The only daughter born to Jacob and Leah (first wife) of the Old Testament is narrated in the voice of Dinah through the stories of her mother and aunts.

Dinah grows up in The Red Tent where the women of Jacob gather for childbirth, healing and their monthly cycles. Each aunt lovingly tells her story in order pass knowledge and teach Dinah the history and lessons that came before her. Here she learns the dynamics of how these women get along as well as the obstacles they've faced. To say these women had it difficult is the supreme understatement. From her beautiful aunt Rachel she learns midwifery and discovers she has a genuine calling so much so that she is sought out from others and thus brings value to her tribe. We are witness to Dinah's coming of age, falling in love and her life's journey bringing her full circle.

Ultimately a women's read, I found this story dense with emotion and at times intense. One of the most satisfying stories I've ever read. While this book sat on my shelf for nearly a decade I admit I felt somewhat put off by the subject matter all the while hearing high acclaim for it. I'm sorry I let it sit so long but it's a relief to have it off the TBR stack shelf. I give this book the highest recommendation and am happy to have already passed it on to a book club member.

How I acquired this book: Passed to me by my friend Jackie.

Shelf life: 10+ years ( )
  missjomarch | Mar 17, 2015 |
I watched the mini-series on Lifetime earlier this year, and I really enjoyed it so I had to read the book. I wish I had read the book first because I always enjoy the books so much more, but the mini-series was well-done, and as close to the book as it could be. The story is about Dinah who was Jacob's only daughter in his family of 12 sons. Jacob is the biblical patriarch who was son to Isaac. His brother was Esau. Not much is written in the Bible about Dinah, but Ms. Diamant has done a wonderful job of fleshing out her life and making her real. We see a young girl in a family of boys who is raised by four remarkable women. Jacob had four wives and the wives he had were all sisters. There was Leah, who was Dinah's mother, Rachel who was the beautiful one and a skillful midwife, Zilpah and Bilhah who were the lesser wives of Jacob, but each unique in her own way. This family of remarkable women were wonderful role-models for Dinah, and they help her achieve her goal of becoming a successful midwife just like her aunt Rachel. This remarkable story is told from Dina's viewpoint. We experience her happiness and sadness and her blessings and her great tragedy first-hand. It is a deeply moving tale of women and their remarkable resilience traced back all the way to the biblical era. Its a tremendously poignant book that forces the reader to examine their own feelings and perceptions, and Dinah is wonderful creation and she will stay with you long after you close the book. ( )
  Romonko | Mar 14, 2015 |
3.5 stars

This tells the story of a minor character in the Bible, Dinah. Dinah is born to Leah and Jacob and is raised by four “mothers”, all Jacob's wives who also happen to be sisters. Dinah is the only girl amongst many brothers, so is treated extra-special by her mothers/aunts. The first part actually tells more of her mothers' lives, then it switches to Dinah's life as she grows and becomes a newly married adult, when something happens to change her life forever.

As much as I like historical fiction focusing on women, all the menstrual blood/flow and child birthing in the first part was a bit much for me. I realize that Dinah became a midwife later, and that's one thing, but this was more that I really didn't need to read about! The story itself (once it got going), I could have rated 4 stars, but I couldn't bring myself to rate it that high. Too much for me, though the story itself was fine. ( )
  LibraryCin | Feb 20, 2015 |
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is a loose adaptation of the story of Dinah from Genesis, and the early part of this book with it’s lists of who begat who reminded me very much of the Bible. This is very much a book with a woman’s point of view, and the women characters are fully developed, deep and complete. Unfortunately the men suffer somewhat in this book, being much more simply drawn, and most end up seeming rather flat and negative. But as this is a book that is comprised of mostly woman’s stories, woman’s traditions and woman’s history, the stereotypically portrayed men makes sense.

The red tent of the title is a place of seclusion where the women retire for the days of their periods. Men stayed clear of this side of women’s business, and in reality, the red tent is a place of harmony and refuge for the females to relax, refresh and reenergize themselves for the upcoming month. The story is set in the time of the dawning of Christianity and so the stories are a mix of many gods, but with a smattering of Christian beliefs as well.

The Red Tent is a rich story of and about women, Dinah’s tale tells of a time period that not much is known of, but the author, with great passion and intensity creates a timeless story of biblical proportions that was interesting and engrossing. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 5, 2015 |
I am not what you would call a fan of "women's fiction," but this may be the most excellent rendering of the genre. Think of great generational epics, Roots and The Thorn Birds come to mind. Now go to the Old Testament and mix well. I spent a fair part of today crying as the tale drew to a close. I will nominate it for my Book Club. ( )
  MaureenCean | Jan 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 279 (next | show all)
Diamant, an award winning journalist, vividly conjures up the ancient world of caravans, shepherds, farmers, midwives, slaves, and artisans in a novel that takes us from Mesopotamia and Canaan down into Egypt... It's revisionist feminist history, to be sure, but inventiveness befits a work of fiction. Diamant's Dinah is a compelling narrator of a tale that has timeless resonance.
The Red Tent instantly drew me in from its very first paragraph. The narrative voice, that of Dinah, reminded me a lot of that of Margaret Atwood’s wonderful Penelopiad which I read last year. It was strong but slightly melancholy and conveyed the same idea of reclaiming the story of a marginal woman from a great male narrative, telling the story from a new, feminine perspective and revealing what ‘really’ happened.

The red tent of the title is the separate tent set aside for the women where they go while menstruating to keep apart from the men. The Red Tent then is a very appropriate title as the book focused almost exclusively on feminine concerns: becoming a woman, giving birth and finding a husband. I appreciated this insight into their secret world and I liked the idea of telling a masculine story to recentre it around the women.

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anita Diamantprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bilger, CarolNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Emilia, my daughter
First words
We have been lost to each other for so long.
If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully. Stories about food show a strong connection. Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business. The more a daughter knows the details of her mother’s life—without flinching or whining—the stronger the daughter.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
The Red Tent tells the little know Biblical story of Dinah, daughter of the patriarch Jacob and his wife, Leah. In Chapter 34 of the Book of Genesis, Dinah's tale is a short, horrific detour in the familiar narrative of Jacob and Joseph. Anita Diamant imaginatively tells the story from the fresh perspective of its women. In the Biblical tale, Dinah is given no voice; she is the narrator of The Red Tent, which reveals the life of ancient womanhood---the world of the red tent. Readers of The Red Tent will view the Book of Denesis in a new light.
Haiku summary
Lacking a legacy
Joseph's sister Shechem's wife
Was a Wise woman


Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312427298, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:30 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Based on the Book of Genesis, Dinah, Jacob's only daughter, shares her perspectives on the origins of many of our modern religious practices and sexual politics, imparting the lessons she has learned from her father's wives.

(summary from another edition)

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