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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent (edition 1998)

by Anita Diamant

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12,074None208 (4.06)314
Title:The Red Tent
Authors:Anita Diamant
Info:Picador (1998), Paperback, 321 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

adult (32) Bible (224) biblical (245) biblical fiction (245) book club (91) Dinah (110) Egypt (58) family (43) favorite (33) favorites (32) feminism (88) fiction (1,326) historical (149) historical fiction (774) history (75) jacob (44) Jewish (58) Judaism (145) literature (41) Middle East (56) novel (134) Old Testament (122) own (81) read (155) religion (286) religious fiction (49) to-read (143) unread (48) women (337) Women in the Bible (55)
  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. 10
    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. 00
    Mary, Called Magdalene by Margaret George (meggyweg)
  6. 00
    The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Another beautifully written historical fiction with a focus around mother daughter relationships.
  7. 00
    The Cave Dreamers by Jeanne Williams (juniperSun)
    juniperSun: both have women passing on their spirituality/goddess knowledge secretly
  8. 11
    I Been in Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots by Susan Straight (shesinplainview)
  9. 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.
  10. 02
    The Gilded Chamber by Rebecca Kohn (themephi)
  11. 02
    Not the End of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean (SandSing7)

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» See also 314 mentions

English (267)  Danish (1)  All languages (268)
Showing 1-5 of 267 (next | show all)
I had no intention of reading this book; but, it had been suggested to me for years. One of the blurbs on the back cover of the book says, " "The Red Tent" is a fine novel." And it is. I enjoyed the read. It covers the life of Dinah who appears in the Book of Genesis. I thought it gave a good take on what life may have been for the average woman in early biblical time. ( )
  kp9949 | Apr 14, 2014 |
I had my doubts about this book, but I ended up really enjoying it! I couldn't put it down toward the end and stayed up late just to finish it! It was interesting to read about a time when women regarded their bodies as something to be in awe of and blessed by. I even learned a thing or two about the Bible along the way. :) ( )
  KatieCarella | Apr 12, 2014 |
I Loved - Loved - Loved this book.
It is an epic tale based on the Biblical character Dinah and her life.
I recommended and passed my copy on to many friends. ( )
  edachille | Mar 17, 2014 |
Wow, this book was not what I expected. It was recommended to me by a friend and I’m glad I took the time to read listen to it. The story is set in biblical (old testament) times and follows the family of Jacob and his only daughter Dinah. The book is written as though Dinah were telling the story the of her family and her life. I listened to the audio version of this book which made it really seem like I was sitting with Dinah listening to her story. Dinah is mentioned in only a few lines of the bible in Genesis 34. Anita Diamant did an incredible job at creating a complete life and history for Dinah. She took only a handful of sentences and fleshed out an novel that covers an entire generation.

It’s a sad book. Kind of a very sad book. Women were not highly valued at the time of Dinah. A woman was under the control of men for her entire life: her father, her brothers, her husband, and then her sons. As woman, this just made me sad that so many of Dinah’s life decisions were made by the men around her. It was a hard life but as the author shows us, the women had the “red tent”. This was a place they gathered once a month and were free to relax and talk and bond. The women gathered their strength from the red tent.

This is an unusual novel. I liked it but at the same time it made me a little uncomfortable. I am glad that I read/listened to it and will be looking to see if Diamant has written anything since this book was published in 1997. Diamant is very descriptive in her writing and because of this I would say that it is an adult (or late teen) novel. If you are listening to it, as I did, you will most definitely want to save your “listening” time for when the kids are not around. ;) ( )
  jsamaha | Mar 14, 2014 |
I found the liturgical prose hard to plumb. ( )
  witchyrichy | Mar 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 267 (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 (10 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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