Constance's Reviews > The Red Tent

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
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May 08, 12

bookshelves: historical-fiction, feminist-lit, book-club
Read from April 20 to 29, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

The things that initially attracted me to this book - feminist retelling of bible stories - are not the things I love about this book. Rather, I love the last third of the book, set in Egypt and taking place after Jacob's daughter Dinah disappears from the Bible. Yes, in the first half of the book (3 stars), I enjoyed the depictions of Leah and Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah--the women that bore Jacob those 12 sons of Bible fame. (My Biblical reading of Leah will now always be colored by Diamant's description of a strong, capable, confident woman.) I like how Diamant tackles the paradox of Genesis--powerful matriarchal figures like Sarah and Rebecca juxtaposed with a culture that treats women and daughters as property--by celebrating a woman's culture that coexisted at the time of the patriarchs. I like how she gives a voice and a life to Dinah, a person who, in the Bible is a voiceless cipher used by Jacob's sons to wipe out an entire people. But mostly I love the story of what happens to Dinah after the catastrophic events of Genesis 34, how life is rebuilt slowly after tragedy so horrific it numbs to the core and how life in all its complexity and length is ultimately a thing of such reverence it can never be truly expressed. The last third of this book transports me to the Nile where I watch Dinah slowly reborn like a phoenix from the ashes of Genesis. And it is beautiful. Selah.
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04/22/2012 page 42
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