Sunday, May 4, 2014

Review - The Red Tent by: Anita Diamant

Title: The Red Tent
Author: Anita Diamant
Publisher: Pan Books
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase


Her name is Dinah. In the Bible her fate is merely hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the verses of the Book of Genesis that recount the life of Jacob and his infamous dozen sons. "The Red Tent" is an extraordinary and engrossing tale of ancient womanhood and family honour. Told in Dinah's voice, it opens with the story of her mothers - the four wives of Jacob - each of whom embodies unique feminine traits, and concludes with Dinah's own startling and unforgettable story of betrayal, grief and love. Deeply affecting and intimate, "The Red Tent" combines outstandingly rich storytelling with an original insight into women's society in a fascinating period of early history and such is its warmth and candour, it is guaranteed to win the hearts and minds of women across the world.

'If you don't read it you'll be missing out' "Eve"

'I genuinely fell into this rich and colourful world and Dinah and Leah have stayed with me as ancestors and sisters brought to life by Anita Diamant's imaginative novel' Maureen Lipman.

My thoughts:

This book was recommended to me by a friend, whom I share very similar taste with in books. When I read the description and saw that Dinah was a character from the Bible, I asked her if my not knowing anything about the Bible would interfere with my understanding what was going on in the story. She said it wouldn't matter.

The Red Tent is mostly the story of one of Jacob's daughters, Dinah, who doesn't have a big place in the Bible. The story is told by her, and it's of the women she was surrounded by growing up and how she herself ends up finding love. On the other hand, it's the story of women in general, how they had to suffer for centuries, their place between life and death, how strong they are and the power of mother nature.

The women Dinah refers to as "my mothers"--LEah, Rachel, Zilpah and Bilhah-- are in the first chapter, and their stories are the kind of stories that will give me nightmares as well as making me even more proud to be a woman. Even though they're seen to be worthless to the point where it's okay for a man to take four wives, it's them who handle everything-- they're the ones who give birth to oh-so-valuable boys, the ones who work the lands, take care of the sick and the animals. Even though we're living in the 21st century and women do have more rights when compared to those times in the book, it's sad to see that the way they're treated still hasn't changed all that much.

I think you will like this book if the subject matter spikes your interest. Don't go thinking it's a fluffy love story just because there is indeed love in it and a lot of women. Especially the parts where Diaman describes children being born, reading about the the pain the women had to go through were very intense and rather sad. 
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