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The Red Tent

By Anita Diamant

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Format: Paperback, 432 pages, 2nd edition Edition
Published In: Australia, 01 February 2009
'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.' Lost to the history by the chronicles of men, here at last is the dazzling story of Dinah, Jacob's only daughter in the Book of Genesis. Moving panoramically from Mesopotamia to Canaan to Egypt, The Red Tent is robustly narrated by Dinah, from her upbringing by the four wives of Jacob, to her growth into one of the most influential women of her time. Seeking to preserve not only her own remarkable experiences but those of a long-ago era of womanhood left largely undocumented by the original male scribes and later Biblical scholars, Dinah breaks a male silence that has lasted for centuries, revealing the ancient origins of many contemporary religious practices and sexual politics. The result is a beautiful, thought-provoking novel.

About the Author

Anita Diamant is a prize-winning journalist and writer with a Master's Degree in English from the State University of New York. She is the author of six books about contemporary Jewish practice, including The New Jewish Wedding and Living a Jewish Life. Her first work of fiction, The Red Tent, was published in 1997 and became an international bestseller, with over two million copies sold and foreign editions in more than 25 countries world-wide. Her second novel, Good Harbor was published in 2002 and The Last Days of Dogtown was published in 2005. Diamant lives in Massachusetts, with her husband and grown daughter.

Reviews

Skillfully interweaving biblical tales with events and characters of her own invention, Diamant's (Living a Jewish Life, HarperCollins, 1991) sweeping first novel re-creates the life of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob, from her birth and happy childhood in Mesopotamia through her years in Canaan and death in Egypt. When Dinah reaches puberty and enters the Red Tent (the place women visit to give birth or have their monthly periods), her mother and Jacob's three other wives initiate her into the religious and sexual practices of the tribe. Diamant sympathetically describes Dinah's doomed relationship with Shalem, son of a ruler of Shechem, and his brutal death at the hands of her brothers. Following the events in Canaan, a pregnant Dinah travels to Egypt, where she becomes a noted midwife. Diamant has written a thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating portrait of a fascinating woman and the life she might have lived. Recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/97.]‘Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle

A minor character from the book of Genesis tells her life story in this vivid evocation of the world of Old Testament women. The only surviving daughter of Jacob and Leah, Dinah occupies a far different world from the flocks and business deals of her brothers. She learns from her Aunt Rachel the mysteries of midwifery and from her other aunts the art of homemaking. Most important, Dinah learns and preserves the stories and traditions of her family, which she shares with the reader in touchingly intimate detail. Familiar passages from the Bible come alive as Dinah fills in what the Bible leaves out concerning Jacob's courtship of Rachel and Leah, her own ill-fated sojourn in the city of Sechem and her half-brother Joseph's rise to fame and fortune in Egypt. After several nonfiction works on Judaism (Living a Jewish Life, etc.), Diamant's fiction debut links the passions of the early Israelites to the ongoing traditions of modern Jews, while the red tent of her title (where women retreat for menstruation, childbirth and illness) becomes a resonant symbol of womanly strength, love and wisdom. Despite a few unprofitable digressions, Diamant succeeds admirably in depicting the lives of women in the age that engendered our civilization and our most enduring values. (Oct.)

EAN: 9781741756470
ISBN: 1741756472
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Dimensions: 19.5 x 13 centimetres (0.30 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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2 review(s)
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sarah fletcher on
 
I LOVED this book which was referred to me by a friend who said it was probably her favourite book ever. The story is detailed, you get to know so many characters well and feel their story. It is a long fascinating and emotional journey that despite some horrible outcomes has a good ending. A sisterhood story and a self discovery too. The historical setting is excellent.
Kelli-Ann Brockman on
 
fast delivery, packed well. excellent service, thank you

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