Book 52 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from August 11 - 15
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Summary (via the book jacket)
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons in the Book of Genesis.
Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoil of ancient womanhood - the world of the red tent. It begins with the stories 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's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate, immediate connection.
Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's society.
Although I'd heard many great things about this book I had put off reading it for myself because religious fiction is absolutely my least favorite genre. I'm glad I finally read it because I loved it.
Despite the biblical people, this isn't a 'biblical' book. This could stand alone just as a story from that time period which is great because women of that time period are pretty unknown and it was nice to have a book devoted to them.
I was drawn in. I celebrated with them and I mourned with them.
A Few Quotes from the Book
" "In the red tent, the truth is known. In the red tent, where days pass like a gentle stream, as the gift of Innana courses through us, cleansing the body of last month's death, preparing the body to receive the new month's life, women give thanks - for repose and restoration, for the knowledge that life comes from between our legs, and that life costs blood." "
"Why had no one told me that my body would become a battlefield, a sacrifice, a test? Why did I not know that birth is the pinnacle where women discover the courage to become mothers? But of course, there is no way to tell this or to hear it. Until you are the woman on the bricks, you have no idea how death stands in the corner, ready to play his part. Until you are the women on the bricks, you do not know the power that rises from other women - even strangers speaking an unknown tongue, invoking the names of unfamiliar goddesses."