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 who 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
From Library Journal
The Red Tent is an attempt to breathe life into the story of Jacob's daughter, Dinah, who is known in an episode in the book of Genesis as a woman dishonored by Shalem and the cause of a bloody massacre. Dinah herself narrates this novel, giving a new perspective on herself, Jacob's wives, and her famous half-brother, Joseph. This is a celebration of women and their work: of life, birth, cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, and even dying. The book is interesting though marred by passages that stretch the willing suspension of disbelief, e.g., Dinah directly addresses a contemporary audience, she talks about her own death, and a few similar moments that take the listener out of the tale. Carol Bilger does apt work with what she's given, providing a subdued performance that generally suits the material, which is short on dialog and long on description. The music that ends each side adds to the mood of the story while also letting the listener know that it's time to flip the cassette or change the tape. Having enjoyed a strong readership, The Red Tent in audio should also find an audience. Recommended for larger collections. Adrienne Furness, Maplewood Community Lib., Rochester, NY
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