Book Reviews
The Red Tent: Anita Diamant
16th Mar 2010Posted in: Book Reviews Comments Off on The Red Tent: Anita Diamant
The Red Tent: Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant goes where men were not only forbidden but feared to tread, and reveals the secret life of biblical women behind the walls of the tent to which they retired during menstruation at the time of the new moon. The story is told by Dinah, and begins with the histories she learned at the sides of her four mothers, who were not only sisters but the wives of Jacob, father of twelve sons who became the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The author retells the biblical story in which Dinah appears, and imagines her life after the violence and terrible tragedy that must surely have been central to her life, linking her to both historical and biblical events and figures along the way.

Beautifully written, researched and imagined, with each character alive and unique, and a fascinating study of the everyday lives and times of biblical women, who seemed almost to have their own separate society and religion from the men, worshipping the older gods and especially goddesses, and initiating the girls into the secret rhythms of women’s lives as they came of age.

At times I found the very many names and genealogies difficult to keep track of, but this, as well as Dinah’s voice, gave quite a biblical feel to the text itself.

Probably a book for women rather than men, but don’t be put off by the biblical theme – this is definitely one for pagans too.

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