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The Red Tent | [Anita Diamant]

The Red Tent

Passionate, earthy, deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable contribution to modern fiction: a vibrant new perspective of female life in the age that shaped present day civilization and values.

If you like The Red Tent, try The Harlot by the Side of the Road, a recounting of some of the most startling and explicit writings from The Old Testament.

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Publisher's Summary

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible her life is only hinted at during a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons in the Book of Genesis.

Told through Dinah's eloquent voice, this sweeping novel reveals the traditions and turmoil of ancient womanhood. Dinah's tale 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 hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land.

Dinah speaks of the world of the red tent, the place where women were sequestered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and illness; of her initiation into the religious and sexual practices of her tribe; of Jacob's courtship with his four wives; of the mystery and wonder of caravans, farmers, shepherds, and slaves; of love and death in the city of Shechem; and of her half-brother Joseph's rise in Egypt.

Passionate, earthy, deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable contribution to modern fiction: a vibrant new perspective of female life in the age that shaped present day civilization and values.

Don't miss Anita Diamant at the 92nd Street Y.

©1997 by Anita Diamant; (P)2000 by Audio Renaissance, An Imprint of Renaissance Media, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Winner, Adult Fiction, 2001

"The oldest story of all could never seem more original, or more true." (James Carroll, author of An American Requiem)
"Carol Bilger narrates with a warmth and melodiousness that echo the rhythm of the musical interludes that separate chapters." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1550 )
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4.1 (476 )
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4.1 (468 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Meg Newark, DE, USA 05-11-06
    Meg Newark, DE, USA 05-11-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    6
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    "Interesting Historical Fiction"

    I enjoyed this audiobook. It provides an interesting perspective on historical events. The book is credible and well-narrated. You may find it a bit long, but power through and you will find the main character endearing. If you are not into women's literature or women's studies, this book is not for you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Concrete, WA, USA 09-02-05
    Patricia Concrete, WA, USA 09-02-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
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    19
    17
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    "Clever story telling"

    I know its not the bible but it is not the "sacrilege" other reviewer claims it to be. This story is cleverly written and effectively puts the reader directly into the lives and very possible settings that the real Dinah and her mothers faced as the wives of Jacob, and mothers of his sons. I liked that it included not just Dinah's well known brief history but also the history of her mothers and the relationships of her brothers.
    The narrator has good voice for this story and was easy to listen to. I am not ashamed to rate this book a 4 star!!Enjoy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Lawrence, KS, USA 06-25-03
    Tracy Lawrence, KS, USA 06-25-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "The Red Tent"

    Warm, healing and enlightening. Nice to take in a story from
    a healthy female point of view.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Tacoma, WA, USA 09-27-04
    Doug Tacoma, WA, USA 09-27-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Makes you think..."

    I did not want to enjoy this book. My wife and I recomend three books a year to each other and this was one of my three this year. 12 hours of audio is daunting when it's not something you want to read, but this novel, based on a few chapters of Genesis is fantastic. It follows Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, son of Issac. I referenced my Bible when reading it to see where the story came from and where it ventured into unknown territory. The story is a saga of one woman's life in biblical times and is enthralling. My only problem with it was some of the descriptions of womenly things were blunt...not vulgar but blunt. I got over it early in the book and went onto reccomend it to friends and family.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 06-06-08
    Connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 06-06-08 Member Since 2007

    trying to see the world through my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard ideas, easy listening"

    I stuck with this listen only because so many friends recommended it-- It took three hours before I found the book less than tedious, but in the end it was satisfying though easy listening.

    If you're a fan of Walter Wangerin's gentle Bible tales, this may not be for you. If you are one of the "Left Behind" crowd, this is definitely not for you!

    I loved the idea behind this book, and the author communicates more about theories of ancient goddess-based worship and its supression than some academic tomes I've slogged through -- and wouldn't "the Mothers" have preferred communcation through narrative?

    Some reviewers disliked the modern tone of the narrator, and I struggled with her perkiness, but I think it is the modern sensibility (and occasionally even vocabulary) of the author that keeps creeping into the text itself -- However, it must be so difficult to write otherwise! Let's give some poetic license to the voice of Dinah because she is speaking from outside of time.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Stateline, NV, United States 04-01-08
    Suzanne Stateline, NV, United States 04-01-08 Member Since 2010

    Suzanne

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Women-secular lives in a biblical era"

    Raised as a strict protestant, I think I know the Bible pretty well. This author took an era out of the Old Testament and spun a compelling story around the land, the lifestyles and some facts out of the Bible. But, what I liked the best about this book was a deep exploration of women and their relationships in a very male dominated world. Sharing and caring for each other throughout their lifetimes takes on a larger impetus than in other times and places. This close examination of their lives helped me re-evaluate my own relationship with the women in my life.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gingerpenny95 Fairfield, Ca, United States 09-24-05
    gingerpenny95 Fairfield, Ca, United States 09-24-05 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    129
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    "Very Entertaining"

    I too was compelled to read the Bible and compare this book with the scriptures. I am by no means a biblical scholar but I cannot fathom the previous reviewer's close-minded approach to this book. I think that some of the characters, whether they were ancestors (not descendants) of David and Jesus committed some pretty atrocious acts that were murderous and deceitful and I do not have any difficulty in believing that they would not stop at having their way with a few goats and sheep as I am sure most shepherds have done. To believe otherwise is a bit naive. No wonder our country has been taken over by such easily led "fundamentalists" whose lack of objectivity has gotten us into the mess we are in now. Human nature hasn't changed much.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    April Kinsey Waleska, Georgia USA 08-11-10
    April Kinsey Waleska, Georgia USA 08-11-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Opens a new world"

    This is one of my favorite books of all time! Ms. Diamant's imagery and tone allows the reader to step into the crowded, noisy homestead of the family of Jacob, son of Issac. The daily life of the earliest of God's chosen people is something that is passed over in the Bible in favor of the larger more dramatic issues that they struggled with, especially as it pertains to the life of the women and children. Bringing to life a fairly small slice of a fairly insignificant story in Genesis (Dinah, Jacob's only daughter is stolen and raped by the Prince of a nearby town), this book opened up - for me - the entire world that existed during the Old Testament. Suddenly my Bible, especially the harder to chew first five books of the OT, came springing to life, relevant and interesting like it never had been before. This book IS a work of fiction, it's not the Bible, but what it did for me was bring me closer to the Bible. Over the past ten years since I first read this book, I have read and collected more theological texts than I would have thought possible! Raised by adamantly non-practicing Jehovah's witnesses, I count this book as the key that led me to my faith. My relationship with God was immediately and permanently strengthened by reading this book, and then going back and reading my Bible with new eyes. I also view my relationships with my female family and friends differently, and have given this book as a gift to several of them.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Bluffton, SC, United States 10-21-07
    Kelly Bluffton, SC, United States 10-21-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A lovely story"

    This is a wonderful book. Well written and well narrated. I laughed and cried. A great story about women, thier strength and complicated relationships. I am not one to usually like books like this but I must say I really did.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer St Paul, MN, USA 02-26-05
    Amazon Customer St Paul, MN, USA 02-26-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "Narrator is irritating, music is sketchy"

    I'm about half way through listening to this and I'm tempted to switch to reading the book in print because the narrator's voice and style are so irritating. She sounds like a high school actor reading through a play for the first time. After hearing such professional narrators like Nadia May, this woman is amateurish and truly reduces my enjoyment of the book. In addition, there is music but it seems to appear randomly -- not a logical points in the story at all, and only periodically, like it was an afterthought. Very odd. Not what I've come to expect from Audible products at all.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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