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The Red Tent

A book by Anita Diamant

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Women's lives from a biblical perspective....

  • Sep 28, 2000
  • by
Women are assigned to their rightful place in this biblical view of an early societal structure, depending on your point of view, of course.... Author Diamant has taken an interesting topic, a woman's position in the hierarchy of things, and given it life, following biblical outlines to form her story. I found the Red Tent and it's particular mystery a fascinating image, conjuring up both the ability of women to live in their own mileau, while also defining those monthly periods when a woman is considered 'unclean'. The main character, Dinah, is able to move about the desert camp prior to becoming a woman, giving her some freedom in making judgements and choices. She follows her heart, and since this is, after all, a biblical tale, she must pay the price of straying from expected behavior. The wages of sin, etc...While I enjoyed this book, especially the vivid imagery, desert sand and blood, murder and lust, I was disappointed to I finish so quickly. I wanted a little more, shall we say, 'meat' to make the story fuller and richer. Depending on the reader, appreciation can go either way, but for me, it was starting to slide into Oprah-land, once a good thing, now not so special to this reader. The writing remains consistently elegant and descriptive: I craved more of the really strong writing and less of the romance novel flavor. Would love to see this writer reach farther, perhaps even in the direction of Margaret Atwood.

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More The Red Tent reviews
Quick Tip by . December 23, 2010
I wanted to love this book since it had been recommended to me by multiple people who shared my general taste in books, and they all loved it.  But I just couldn't "get into" this book.  I didn't care for the plot or the characters enough to really enjoy this book.  The writing style was very well done and the subject was interesting, but this book never really drew me in.  I'm curious what other people thought that read this one?
review by . November 27, 2005
When checking THE RED TENT out at the library, it seemed as if it was a departure from my ordinary reading choices. I enjoy romances, mystery, intrigue, historical fiction and humor. I was enchanted with the fact that the book contained all of these. I found that the women's' trips into the red tent were indeed, something of an interest.   The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is an engrossing, well-researched story with compelling and believable characters. It is especially gratifying to find …
review by . May 31, 2001
At the risk of sounding sexist, I think this is a fine novel which will appeal to women of all ages. It is finely written, and thought provoking, and has all the real flavour of biblical times and places. But it is a novel of women, written by a woman, and in my opinion with the intention to be appealing to women.I sought out the relevant passages in my Bible, and there they were, just the bare bones of the story as Dinah suggests at the beginning of her narrative. But let me stress, this is the …
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Luan Gaines ()
Ranked #108
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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About this book


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 ...

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ISBN-10: 0312195516
ISBN-13: 978-1864486797
Author: Anita Diamant
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: Picador
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