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The Red Tent: A Novel by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent: A Novel (original 1997; edition 2007)

by Anita Diamant

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13,421332163 (4.05)369
Title:The Red Tent: A Novel
Authors:Anita Diamant
Info:Picador (2007), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (1997)

  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 (Myths, The) 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
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  13. 02
    Not the End of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean (SandSing7)

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» See also 369 mentions

English (329)  Danish (1)  All (330)
Showing 1-5 of 329 (next | show all)
Blurb: Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's society.

Well written, worth a read. ( )
  DebbieMcCauley | Jan 3, 2017 |
This was a most unusual book. First of all, the writing is superb. It is a novel that is not intended to be a work of fact or historical fiction, but on that note what I found most interesting was the customs and viewpoints of that time in history. The novel reveals the traditions And turmoils of ancient womanhood. The men did not enter or know what happened in the red tent. This is the story of Jacob in Genesis. The author calls her work "midrash" which I took to mean taking a factual story and filling in the blanks of what may have happened. It is in the voice of Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob mentioned in the Bible. Dinah is a very minor character in the Bible but what a story Diamanté has woven. I highly recommend. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Poorly written, with stilted dialogue and tiresome, adjective-heavy descriptions. The story was interesting enough for me to finish the book, but I never really felt *convinced* by it. None of the characters were fully developed, and instead their characterization relied on the author describing what they were like. The perspective shifted awkwardly, and there were some strange moments in which the first-person narrator suddenly saw into the mind of her father, and in her description of him thinking of her, she used the third person and “Dinah” to refer to herself.

Some annoying tropes the book included:

— You know the main character has reached puberty because one day BOOM— smack out of the blue, men/boys become unbearably intriguing, even the little “buds” on the naked baby boys running around, a detail that made me cringe, because... seriously?
— Attraction at first sight = love = perfect marriage

I’m sure there were more. But in summary, the book wasn’t *terrible* but is certainly overrated. ( )
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Reimagining the story of Dinah in the Bible, The Red Tent brings us into the women's tents of the wives of the patriarch Jacob. Through Dinah's eyes, we get the story of her life, from her mother Leah and aunts Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah through the entirety of Dinah's life. Here we see the tent not as seclusion during menstruation but a celebration of womanhood, sacrifices to goddesses and celebrations of the new moon, and the importance of childbearing.

I have no particular problem with retellings, and in fact enjoy fairy tale retellings quite a bit when I can recognize the original story and see where an author has gone into his or her own interpretation of it. In the same vein as The Mists of Avalon, The Red Tent takes a male-dominated story and tells it from the women's point of view. That's great as far as it goes, though few of the men come out in a good light in this telling. Beyond that, I simply wasn't engaged. I found it really boring, maybe because it was so epic in scope or maybe because I felt like the story wasn't reinterpreted so much as completely changed. I wasn't offended - though I imagine some might be - but I was constantly off-kilter as a result and not really sinking into the story. ( )
1 vote bell7 | Nov 11, 2016 |
This book is amazing. Diamant is a great story teller. Every time I picked the book up, I had to read as much as I could. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 329 (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 editionscalculated
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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