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The Red Tent

Diamant, Anita

Book - 1998
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Red Tent
In a story based on the Book of Genesis, Jacob's only daughter, Dinah, shares her unique perspectives on the origins of many of our modern religious practices and sexual politics, eager to impart the lessons in endurance and humanity she has learned fromher father's wives.

Publisher: New York : Picador USA, 1998.
Edition: 1st Picador USA pbk. ed.
ISBN: 0312195516
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: 321 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.


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From the critics

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Dec 22, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Inspired by Biblical events, Diamant has written a passionate and earthy first novel. Based on the story of Jacob and his tribe as seen through the eyes of his daughter, Dinah, this book is a great book club choice.

Dec 10, 2014
  • InvernessS rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Right off let me say I did not read this as raved about by others. The idea of biblical women just didn't ring my bell - unless it's proven history & that is the bone of contention. So I cheated & watched the 2 part drama on TV & did enjoy it; the imagined possibility was good; likely traditions well thought out & blending cultures very interesting. I do like & respect reading/learning about Jewish traditions, history, culture. Little doubt that women in that era were chattel & amazingly strong, enduring & surviving the harsh conditions. It irks me that writers or producers have to add sex scenes because they are pandering to titillation instead of making suggestion to ones imagination. Physical, sexual passion is not new.

Nov 24, 2014
  • NanCcan rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

She walks with me still!
I found it such a riveting read that it was difficult to put down and I hated to have it end. I love that we are finally hearing about the lives, traditions and wisdom of the strong women of Biblical times.

Sep 18, 2014
  • ktnvd rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was such a refreshing book to read. The author does a wonderful job telling the story from the women's perspective. Really makes one wonder what we've missed over the years with certain books and stories being eliminated and lost from the original writings. I felt an even stronger solidarity with other women after reading this book. Bravo to Anita Diamant.

Jun 12, 2014
  • beth202 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A long book with a lot of detail. Based on a character mentioned briefly in the Bible.

Jun 12, 2014

I loved the book, but by the time I had finished it I was convinced that Dinah was doing something wrong in her midwifery: It seems that she was observing far more haemorrhaging loss than would normally be expected, and I was wondering if like the unwashed obstetrician who killed my great-great-grandmother in the 19th century, if the women were perhaps better off without Dinah's "assistance."

Jun 05, 2014
  • Eosos rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This is a tale of Dinah, only daughter of Leah, first wife of Jacob. For those familiar with the story in the Bible this will be a re-imagined version of events. A nicer version, where wives are not as bitter and until the reprehensible actions of several of Dinah’s brothers, family life is relatively idyllic.

The four daughters of Laban and wives of Jacob do not follow the one God that Jacob, his father and his fathers before him do. They follow the old ways, as their mother taught them, with each wife having a preferred god or goddess. The red tent is where every woman spends one week a month and 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth to rest and recover, it is where they celebrate the giving of life. Dinah tells her story starting with Jacob’s arrival in Laban’s camp and ending with her death, loved but far from home.

I was not that impressed with this book. I had a vague recollection of the original story from the Bible though no remembrance of Dinah herself. I have no issue with a good retelling of a Biblical story but this one was boring for me. Now understanding the importance and significance of the red tent I would probably have avoided the book as of no interest for me. But having read it and determined my lack of enthusiasm I would also point out that I think the story was well written and the characters of Dinah and her four mothers were brought to life fantastically.

May 05, 2014

I would recommend this book to all women. A friend of mine recommended it to me, and I had no idea what to expect. I decided to read and was blown away by this story of a girl from the biblical times. I couldn't put this book down. It is one of my all time favorites.

Sep 26, 2013
  • JCLDianeH rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I love that we get to hear the voice of a woman who has long been voiceless.It makes me wonder what interesting tales other women in the Bible have to tell.

Aug 15, 2013
  • stevie22 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I read in a magazine that this was a must read for women. So I checked it out. I had this preconceived notion that it would be so biblical that it should be used in a Bible Study group. Couldn't shake that feeling so I passed it on to a girlfriend. She loved it and couldn't understand why I didn't. So, I checked it out again. This time, I pushed through and it was so worth it. Understanding women's roles but mostly appreciating the sisterhood and love that women shared for each other was so touching. Can't say that it spoke real highly of men in general. Sort of reminded me of a version of "Color Purple" in that sense but different. Good read. Read it.

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Dec 12, 2011
  • Puddleglum rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

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Jul 18, 2011
  • bidbid rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

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Jan 09, 2009
  • Sarahd rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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Dec 20, 2008
  • DavidB rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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Oct 03, 2009

In the Book of Genesis the bible tells of Jacob and his twelve sons. This novel tells the story of Jacob's daughter Dinah and her mothers - Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah - the four wives of Jacob.

Jan 23, 2009
  • heatherlynn rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.




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Feb 10, 2009
  • DavidB rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

No one recalled my skill as a midwife, or the songs I sung, or the bred I baked for my insatiable brothers. Nothing remained except a few mangled details about those weeks in Shechem. There was far more to tell. Had I been asked to speak of it, I would have begun with the story of the generation that raised me, which is the only place to begin. 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 about the details of her mother’s life – without flinching or whining – the stronger the daughter.

Feb 10, 2009
  • DavidB rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

We have been lost to each other for so long. My name means nothing to you. My memory is dust. This is not your fault or mine. The chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the word passed to the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing. That is why I became a footnote, my story a brief detour between the well-known history of my Father, Jacob, and the celebrated chronicle of Joseph, my brother. On those rare occasions when I was remembered, it was as a victim. Near the beginning of your holy book, there is a passage that seems to say I was raped and continues with the bloody tale of how my honor was avenged. It’s a wonder that any mother ever called a daughter Dinah again. But some did. Maybe you guessed that there was more to me than the voiceless cipher in the text. Maybe you heard it in the music of my name: the first vowel high and clear, as when a mother calls to her child at dusk; the second sound soft, for whispering secrets on pillows. Dee-nah.


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