The Red Tent by Anita Diamant tells the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob (son of Isaac). I was glad that Christian/Jewish mythology didn’t really play too much of a role in this book; I was concerned that since it used Biblic names and a Bible story at its foundation, that it would feel “preachy”.
There are three parts to the book: the mothers’ story, Dinah in Canaan and Dinah in Egypt, yet the three were not distinct stories the way some novels can feel when divided; Dinah was the storyteller in them all and her voice carried throughout.
I felt there was such a contrast between the first two parts and the last. In the beginning the story was filled with love and family which made the story of Dinah in Egypt feel so desolate. Diamant creates a rich story of women, their lives, loves and sorrows. She brings us into a world that many of us haven’t even tried imagining. I know I’ve read Genesis, Exodus and others; the Bible really isn’t very creative writing, not much to spark imagination, except maybe the Pslams, so in my opinion, for Diamant to be so successful at portraying ancient life is phenomenal. Although Diamant herself is not big on description, it isn’t necessary in this novel, her characters are enough to keep the pages turning.
Again, this was another book that I read in two sittings (and only because at 3:30 this morning I figured I should go to bed and rest my eyes). I love books that explore women’s relationships with each other, with their environment and with their bodies; the Red Tent certainly delves into these areas, which for me made an enjoyable, though sometimes squirmish, read.