Summary and book reviews of The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent

By Anita Diamant

The Red Tent
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  • Hardcover: Sep 1997,
    321 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 1998,
    321 pages.

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Book Summary

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 are to sustain her through a damaged 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, immediate connection.

Prologue

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-...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
The Red Tent tells the little-known 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 Genesis in a new light. This guide can help spur creative discussions of the timeless story.


Discussion Questions:
  1. Read Genesis 34 and discuss how The Red Tent changes your perspective on Dinah’s ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
The Los Angeles Times

By giving a voice to Dinah...the novel has struck a chord with women who may have felt left out of biblical history.

Philadelphia Inquirer

A novel well worth reading!...very rich and fulfilling.

Kirkus Reviews

With stirring scenery and a narrative of force and color, a readable tale marked by hortatory fulminations and voluptuous lamentations. For a liberal Bible audience with a possible spillover to the Bradley relationship.

Reader Reviews
Elizabeth

A con
The title states this to be about the biblical Dinah. It is not. It is about an imaginary character constructed by Diamant. She should be honest and not use the biblical characters as a means to attract readers or to express her feminist views if she...   Read More

iminthetent

wOw
When I first laid my eyes on it, I thought, "Oh God. Another stupid feminism book." But, when I started reading it, I was so enticed I had to keep reading more. The graphic scenes are disturbing yet powerful. They made me feel something. ...   Read More

Sarah

Great book
I thought this book was really good and well written. Even though i am not a very religious person, i still understood it and loved the story line.

Chris

Disgusting Novel
This book was the most disgusting book I have ever read. Diamant takes prophets of God and turns them into masturbating sex-fiends who can not think with their heads. I skipped the first pornographic section as I was so disgusted by her gross ...   Read More

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