The Red Tent
I finally read this just a couple of years ago. In the book of Genesis, Dinah is the only surviving daughter of Leah and Jacob. She's a minor character in the Bible, but The Red Tent is her life story: Diamant interweaves characters from the biblical narrative with characters of her own invention to vividly portray what it was like to live in those times, with a strong emphasis on the relationships between the women. Stirring, imaginative, and atmospheric.
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons.
Told in Dinah’s voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood-the world of the red tent. It 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 damaged 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.