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The Red Tent

The Red Tent [Kindle Edition]

Anita Diamant
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)

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Product Description Review

Anita Diamant's The Red Tent is an epic celebration of womanhood, written for women everywhere, regardless of their status, creed or colour. It is the story of a woman whose life was blessed by great love and torn by tragedy, of the lessons she learned through her own experiences and those of the women, and men, whose lives she touched. Diamant has chosen as her leading lady a woman whose name alone conjures up echoes of mystery, passion and betrayal. The Red Tent is the fictional tale of Dinah, whose life, like the majority of women in the Old Testament, merits only a passing mention. It is the men in Dinah¹s life that history has remembered: her famous father Jacob, his dozen sons and especially her brother, Joseph and his technicolour dreamcoat. Not religious? Don' t worry, this biblical character and the story Anita Diamant has woven from the merest hints, will appeal to all.

Strangely, even though Dinah lived her life several thousand years ago in a culture far removed from almost all of the women who will read this book, her story is as relevant and fresh as any written in recent years. This novel is as compelling for its female take on the grand themes that transcend time--birth, death, love, hate, betrayal and forgiveness­-as it is for its meticulously researched and hugely fascinating picture of everyday life as an early Jewish woman. The book's title refers to the tent where the women retired each month to pass their menstruation, and the descriptions of their time spent celebrating this fundamental rite of womanhood, and other daily customs make this a most original and inspiring book. In an age when gender and family traditions are becoming more and more diluted, The Red Tent honours women and their many and varied roles in life. Carey Green

Amazon Review

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 that 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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book! 27 Sep 2001
By A Customer
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is an account of the Old Testament story of Jacob and Esau. The story is written from the female perspective and it gives an insight into the life of women during biblical times as not seen before; daily life, life inside the Red Tent at the new moon and the upbringing of children. Running alongside this is a wonderful story which keeps the reader riveted. I would recommend this book to all.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
By "rutta"
'The Red Tent' derives its narrative from the Old Testament story of Dina, the archetypal rape victim whose misfortune triggered the downfall of her family's patriarchal dynasty. From this rather depressing misogamist myth Anita Diamant writes a compelling and genuinely touching love story.
When I first picked this book up I expected an intense and intellectual trawl through biblical history. This was never the case and I was absorbed from the outset. Diamant uses history to engross her reader, the incredible marriage of Jacob to four sisters and the resulting jealousies and trials such a domestic set-up would create are recounted tenderly and plausibly, there is something soothingly voyeuristic amidst the difficult relationships between the women and their one husband.
I particularly loved the narrative surrounding the red tent itself, the home of the menstruating women of the tribe - how wonderful to remember such a time when women were so in tune with each other that they bled together every full moon. And paralleled with the patriachal leadership of the age Diamant creates an intruguing world of male leadership subserviant to the wonders of women, their bodies, their births and their secrets. I lost count of the number of births in this novel, but was again fascinated by the insight provided into the skills and reverence of midwifery.
In 'The Red Tent' Diamant defies the testament story of Dina's rape, instead revealing her relationship as a seductive and wonderful courtship destroyed from the outside by feuding brothers and an overly proud father. A brave incision into a male dominated history and religion.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book 8 July 2005
A truly excellent read. Late nights and weary days, as I could not resist the temptation to read "just a little further".
I originally chose this book because it features so often on lists of books recommended for discussion at book groups.
A novel based on real characters who lived in a biblical period of history, it interweaves fiction and known fact.
Life styles and personalities are conjoured up with such conviction that the reader becomes Dinah, the central character, and lives her life with her.
My book group subsequently read this book and endorsed my enthusiasm. I would have given it 6 stars if I could!
If you enjoyed this book I would recommend Sarah Dunnant's The Birth of Venus : a very different historical novel, but also impossible to put down!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! 21 Mar 2009
This was given as a gift when unwell, it transported me to another time and the insight into female relationships is inspiring. Loved it and have given it to all my female friends and relatives! It has stayed with me long after I read it. A very powerful, evocative story which really gets you involved with the characters. I felt as if I was there, going through the many experiences and emotions described. I rarely read a book more than once or twice but this is worthy of many sittings in my opinion. Vivid descriptions and exceptionally well written, please read this book and see for yourself.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read! 21 Aug 2002
By A Customer
At last, a seemingly well researched, well thought out novel. An amazing book which is written in a style that can almost be described as a 'stream of consciousness' in parts. I really really enjoyed reading about Dinah and her mothers. Ms Diamant really filled out the female role in biblical times. It was facinating.
The cruelty, joy and sisterhood experienced by the female characters was interesting to explore. It is the type of book you think about long after reading, taking time to digest what you have learned. I disagree with a previous review that 'its all about having babies and childbirth'. These were different times and Ms Diamant was trying to show the role of the women in these times for what they were. Unfortunatley, it was not as liberated as we now experience. I was fascinated. I really recommended this book. It is not always easy reading but it you feel like you have been there and back. By the way, in this instance you may judge a book by its cover! The cover is really indicative of the story. It sets the scene perfectly.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 19 Feb 2003
This has all the hallmarks of a great novel - plently of interesting characters, a great story, and most of all, it makes you look at the world differently. Don't be turned off by the 'biblical' side - it is a good read that you will want to return to again and again. It tells the story of a minor character in the bible, describing in detail the lives of women at that time. It really is a book about women, men feature as minor parts, and it deals with all aspects of womanhood. You will never see the bible in the same way again, whether you are a believer or not. You cannot miss this great novel. I just wish she had already written a dozen more.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book. It was recommended to me and I would recommend to others.
Published 1 day ago by LauraB
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 6 days ago by Jessie Corson
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
A behind the scenes look at one of the most commonly known biblical stories, told from the point of view of the women in Jacob's family.
Published 9 days ago by Ms Pauline Murphy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 21 days ago by djwmps
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Beautifully written! It's almost real! You are captured by the description and transformed into the gossip and life that is The Red Tent!
Published 26 days ago by Toni Lovell
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this story
It gave me a glimpse into how women used to live together, support each other and share their wisdom. Read more
Published 29 days ago by pepperhall
5.0 out of 5 stars read it!
Beautifully written, great story. Could not put it down. A wonderful dip into women's history in the middle east. Loved it.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars The Red Tent By Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant perseveres so gallantly with the world of womanly woes and still manages to over-ride the ‘pity me syndrome’ to produce... Read more
Published 1 month ago by The Mother Booker
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Bettina Walman
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling at its best
The Red Tent is a wonderful book. The writing is impeccable and beautiful. If you are at all interested in the history of women then this is a must read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by webwitch62
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Popular Highlights

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Why did I not know that birth is the pinnacle where women discover the courage to become mothers? &quote;
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“In the red tent, the truth is known. In the red tent, where days pass like a gentle stream, as the gift of Innana courses through us, cleansing the body of last month’s death, preparing the body to receive the new month’s life, women give thanks—for repose and restoration, for the knowledge that life comes from between our legs, and that life costs blood.” &quote;
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Until you are the woman on the bricks, you have no idea how death stands in the corner, ready to play his part. &quote;
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