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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent (edition 1998)

by Anita Diamant

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13,191323166 (4.05)360
Title:The Red Tent
Authors:Anita Diamant
Info:Picador (1998), Paperback, 321 pages
Collections:Your library

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. 41
    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. 00
    The Cave Dreamers by Jeanne Williams (juniperSun)
    juniperSun: both have women passing on their spirituality/goddess knowledge secretly
  6. 11
    Mary, Called Magdalene by Margaret George (meggyweg)
  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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» See also 360 mentions

English (320)  Danish (1)  All languages (321)
Showing 1-5 of 320 (next | show all)
I borrowed this book in 2001 and read it slowly, to get a good feel for the language and the story that was pulled from just a few words in the Bible. It is an amazing mingling of feminism, womyn's mysteries, and history and bears reading over and over. Bringing to life the lives they might have lived, of Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah, and Dinah herself, makes the unheard and unremembered women of the Bible even more tragic.

I salute Anita Diamant for doing the research and taking the time to write this book.

I recently found a book-on-CD copy at my local library, and while I could wish that each mother could have had her own narrated voice, as sometimes happens in other books-on-CD, the narrator, Carol, does an extraordinary job of conveying joy, and sadness, and mystery, and love. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
I loved this book. Women tend to take a back seat in biblical adaptations so it was great to read a fictional account of something that took place in that time. It was like three stories in one book. It was a bit difficult to read at first because I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of sharing a husband. I don't share very well. Definitely not my husband and certainly not with my sister. Ew. Once I became immersed in the story it was easier for me to put aside my 21st century mentality and glory in the relationships of the women in the story. It was a beautiful story which made me smile and broke my heart. ( )
  BuffyBarber | Jun 5, 2016 |
This sat on my bookshelf for over two years, I kept avoiding it as I thought it would be religion heavy but it was an incredibly good read. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
The Boston globe wrote of this book: "It is tempting to say that The Red Tent is what the Bible would be like if it had been written by women, but only Diamant could have given it such sweep and grace." I think this is the most befitting tribute to this story, and utterly true.

Diamant takes the mention of Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, and fleshes her out in this historical fiction with such depth and humanity, that it is easy to forget just about all of the men the Bible serves to record. For it is in the Red Tent where the women of Jacob's life, his wives and daughter, the wives and daughters of his sons and bondsmen, share their wisdom, their stories, their skills, their histories, and prepare for the future of their clan.

Diamant tells the story of four women who have to share their husband, yet none of them bemoans her fate or status; each finds meaning in her roles and grows richer in her talents as the years pass. The story moves on to the one daughter born of all of them, who is beloved by all and shared by all, taught by all and raised by all.

These women are severely restricted by their time and place in history, and it would be easy to turn this into a tale centered around the male domination of the time and place. Yet Diamant does each women in the story justice, showing her individuality, importance, value and power. It is clear that given half a chance and a little luck, a woman could express herself and find a meaningful place in the world, even far from the place of her birth and the people of her tribe.

Diamant spins a moving tale full of love, bravery, loss, & honor. We meet many characters who remind us that for all the trappings, the world hasn't changed much: young men and women yearn to find loving, supportive mates; men seek to fulfill their duties with work and to secure their places with wealth and power; women seek to fulfill their duties as wives and mothers, and to earn respect for their skills and contributions to their society; good men who treat the women in their lives with respect will be rewarded with honorable, devoted families; bad men who treat the women in their lives as property or worse will be cursed to die alone like dogs; and each new birth gives the world a chance to get it right this time. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
This book is an excellent example of giving voice to those not recorded in history by creating a story for them. In this case, it's a woman from the Bible, the only sister of the twelve sons of Jacob. The details from what must have been extensive research rang true for me, giving life to Dinah's story through a beautifully structured narrative. The use of her first-person voice made me feel closer and more invested in the book and made the ending sweet. ( )
  amarie | May 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 320 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:58 -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)

» see all 4 descriptions

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