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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 (1543 )
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4.1 (463 )
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Performance
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  •  
    R. S. Herron Pittsburgh 03-03-09
    R. S. Herron Pittsburgh 03-03-09 Member Since 2007
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    "The key word is 'fiction'"

    First, I found this book to be a very enjoyable listen, and I thought the narrator did a fine job, especially with pronunciations and emoting. I'm always unpleasantly surprised by reviewers who rate a book low because it wasn't what they 'expected.' Listening to a book with an open mind and heart can bring a lot of unexpected pleasure. There is nothing offensive or blasphemous about this work of FICTION. It is not a Bible story nor does it claim to be. It is written and narrated in a lovely and poetic fashion, and paints a picture of what life MIGHT have been like for Dinah and her families in a time we know very little about. It is slow moving at times, heart-wrenching on occasion, but, in my opinion, it is beautifully written and a touching story. Open minds in search of an interesting listen might very well enjoy this.

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Staunton, VA, USA 04-10-06
    John Staunton, VA, USA 04-10-06
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    "Very Pleased"

    I am a 25 year old man. This is not only a book for women. I absolutley loved it. It made me laugh and cry numerous times. The narrator was great and the writing was never boring or tedious. I highly recommend this book to anyone!

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Columbus, OH, USA 03-13-05
    Amy Columbus, OH, USA 03-13-05
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    "It's not the Bible"

    This is a work of fiction, not fact or truth. Anita Diamant has taken a tiny bit of the Bible and created a compelling tale of triumph and tragedy, of happiness and sorrow, of hope and despair. If you are expecting a retelling of the Bible, then you will be disapponted.
    The narrator was good, and the background music that is interspersed through the reading is beautiful. I personally think this book is meant to be read aloud, in true oral history fashion.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin Alexandria, NH, USA 01-21-03
    Erin Alexandria, NH, USA 01-21-03
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    "A Great Read for Women's History Buffs"

    One of my favorite courses in college was "The History of Women". This course explored the role of women beginning with Eve and went right through until modern times. One of the most interesting areas was exploring women of the Bible. We learned that the cycle of the earth/cycle of life were very much worshipped by women and respected by men until the onset of the "One God". As women were forced to worship the "One God" they forgot their past and no longer felt proud of their roles as women, their monthly cycles or their ability to bring forth new life. Instead they were made to feel ashamed.

    The red tent was the place where women would gather when they were menstruating. It was a time to relax and discuss women issues. They were secluded from men and younger girls and older women would attend to the daily chores. It was also where they would go when giving birth or tending to the sick. As I read the story of Dinah and her mothers, I was somewhat envious of their times in the Red Tent and their rejoicing at their ability to be the ones to bring new life into the world.

    The audible version was very well done. I only downloaded it as a "2" but think from now on I will download at higher versions to get a richer sound. The music was distorted at this level and the voice somewhat tinny. Still, the narrator did an excellent job and I was completely immersed into Dinah's world.

    70 of 76 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Tucson, AZ, United States 01-02-12
    Linda Tucson, AZ, United States 01-02-12

    Sericulturalist and horticulturalist, mad scientist and earth oven baker.

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    "An Uplifting Midrash"

    First, I would like to address so many of the previous reviews, who seem to be slaving away under the chains of delusion that make them think this is a work of "Christian Fiction". Just because it is about biblical figures, does not make it Christian Fiction. Christians do not own the bible, and especially don't own the Pentatuch. If one only wants to read Christian fiction and not be "disgusted and polluted" by other cultures, ideas, and ways of life and thinking, then do a little more research about the books you buy and about the authors who write them.

    The author is Jewish, and the people she writes about are pagans who are struggling with trying to put on the coat of monotheism. They are converts! This book is Midrash.
    Midrash is a way of dealing with biblical stories that goes beyond a simple boiling down of rabbinical legalism. It is an accepted and valuable way of interpereting scripture that keeps the text alive and fresh, and offers possible solutions for massive gaps left in biblical narration. It goes on every time a Jew studies and discusses the Torah, and forms a prayerful opinion of what the underlying meaning of a holy text may hold.

    Many Jewish and even Muslim traditions, as well as some Progressive Christian traditions encourage this kind of discussion, supposition and reflection. They seek to learn what God really desires from his creation, and celebrate the reality of the gift of free will and free thought. When you close a religious Cannon what you get is a rotten corpse.

    This book does have some very frank references to the human condition, especially where women are concerned. Personally I found them rather clinical, and in no way see how they could be confused with pornography. This is an adult book, but perhaps a mature and well-guided 16 year-old could process this material, but again, only with the proper guidance.

    I can see how this book could be considered dangerous and confusing to people who have taken on the yoke of fundamentalist religion of any denomination. Those people might worry that a book like this could damage a fragile,weak, or flawed hold on fundamentalist "faith", especially by new converts or those prone to independant thinking and study.

    A compass only points to "N" when the person who is holding it faces true north.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosalia RIALTO, CA, USA 03-23-10
    Rosalia RIALTO, CA, USA 03-23-10
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    "Awesome!"

    I loved this book. It is very entertaining. I heard it in a few days. Couldnt put my ipod down :) The reader did a great job and made you feel like she was really telling her story. Enjoy!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin Evanston, IL, USA 06-03-03
    Justin Evanston, IL, USA 06-03-03
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    "highly-recommended -- fun, moving, thot-provoking"

    This tale re-writes the bible story of Joseph, from the imagined perspective of the women involved. A fascinating read, rich as a fictional story and richer still as a subversive critique of the bible. The story dramatized how attuned the bible was to the male perspective - and how amazingly unattuned it was to the female perspective. As a man, I personally didn't feel insulted like the other reviewer (Andrew) felt by the portrayals of men, but maybe I'm just liberal. I also appreciated seeing how monotheism co-existed with polytheism for so long (long after Abraham smashed idols in his dad's shop), and how women and men may have viewed the introduction of monotheism very differently.
    All in all, a fun, moving, thought-provoking, and beautifully-written story. Highly recommended.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacey Granbury, TX, USA 10-29-08
    Stacey Granbury, TX, USA 10-29-08 Member Since 2007
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    "The Red Tent"

    I loved this book! I really enjoyed being told the story from the women's perspective. I would highly recommend it.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Falls Church, VA, USA 03-29-03
    Judith Falls Church, VA, USA 03-29-03
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    "Very interesting reading"

    This is my favorite kind of read. It's a good story and also makes another time and place seem familiar. After reading this, one wants to go back to the Bible to see how much of the Red Tent story is related there. An amazing amount of the book's details are actually in the Bible. I would highly recommend this book.

    30 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DeBora Cooper 06-06-05 Member Since 2004
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    "The Red Tent"

    ?The Red Tent? was masterfully written by Ms. Diamant. She wove a superb story using biblical characters in such a way that if you grew up reading the scriptures or knew anything about the Bible you would know the only things close to the truth in her story are the historical locations she mentions (hence, the word fiction). You would be spellbound by the visions she creates and thoroughly entertained. Anita has fictionally answered some questions that might have been asked about Isaac. What, if any would be the effect of being offered as a sacrifice? We know that Isaac along with his father, Abraham knew that God would provide. In our human state without faith in God that sort of trauma might leave a lasting scar on a child such as stuttering speech. Did Joseph run all of Egypt? Of course he did because he was blessed by God, but in this fiction Joseph is given Diana's son's creditof being a skilled manager.

    If you can separate what you know about the Bible and enjoy the story you could see that this is not a recount of history but a story about people you may have heard or read about in the Bible. If we accept fictional work about the Bible that could be proven possible by scripture, why is it so hard to accept fictional work about Bible characters that is proven as false by the scriptures?

    If you think Anita is writing about something she believes to be real and your faith will be shaken don't read this book. If you have an open mind enjoy this book you will not be disappointed.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
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