Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Red Tent” as Want to Read:
The Red Tent
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Red Tent

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  567,821 ratings  ·  20,810 reviews
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, Zi ...more
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published October 1997 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1997)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Red Tent, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Carole I had that issue with a book I had on my kindle and I solved it by taking a picture of the family tree on my phone and referred to it often. It helped…moreI had that issue with a book I had on my kindle and I solved it by taking a picture of the family tree on my phone and referred to it often. It helped a lot.(less)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Best Books Ever
94,230 books — 230,253 voters
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
6,780 books — 26,302 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  567,821 ratings  ·  20,810 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Red Tent
Skylar Burris
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: judaism
The Red Tent is (very) loosely based on the story of Dinah in Genesis, and it is a book that is very easy to read. Dinah's tale is one that deserves fleshing out; in the Bible it is an interesting though undeveloped and uncertain chronicle. The author does a fairly decent job of developing her female characters, but her male characters are largely flat, stereotypical, and unnecessarily negative.

In the Bible, the characters of Jacob and Joseph are more well-rounded; they are humans with both fau
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I was at Border's Express one day searching for a little something to curl up in a chair with for an extended period of time. When I was approached by a clerk asking me if I needed help with anything, I KNOW, WEIRD!, right? Customer service? Who knew it even existed anymore? Anywho, I made my desire known to the saleswoman and she points me to this...

I immediately think to myself, "Oh crap! a religious book!" I know I'm taking a chance at offending the church goers among you, but let's not throw
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In Hebrew literature, there is a form called Midrash which in essence is an exegesis on Hebrew texts. Even though I'm not Jewish, I would personally categorize this book as Midrash.

Why? Because Anita Diamant does not stray from the Jacob/Dinah story in the bible one whit. Many people who read this book and then go back to the biblical texts are surprised to find that there are household gods and concubines and that Jacob used some rather superstitious means to breed spotted goats, that Rachel cl
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Red Tent, Anita Diamant

The Red Tent is a novel by Anita Diamant, published in 1997 by Wyatt Books for St. Martin's Press. It is a first-person narrative that tells the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph.

She is a minor character in the Bible, but the author has broadened her story. The book's title refers to the tent in which women of Jacob's tribe must, according to the ancient law, take refuge while menstruating or giving birth, and in which they find mutual support and
Are you ready to go into the Red Tent?


We have been lost to each other for so long. My name means nothing to you. My memory is dust. This is not your fault, or mine. The chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the word passed to the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing.

Disfunctional family falls short to describe Jacob’s household.

Nowadays, it would be easily a high-rating TV reality show!

Jacob, a weak man put into the stressing place o
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-the-best
My mom got me this book for Christmas mainly because she wanted to read it. I read the summary on the back and I was intrigued, but wasn't intending to pick it up right away until my mom demanded that I read it as soon as possible so she could read it. So I did. I read it in a day.

I'm a fast reader no matter what, but give me a good book, I'll finish it faster than usual. This book was good. Excellent. I was drawn in with the first word. There were stories within stories and I was able to follow
Feb 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Anytime a work of fiction targets a Judeo-Christian audience, it's hard to rate. Should religious doctrine be taken into account, or should we judge it solely on it's merits as a good story? Because I think some of the more negative reviews of The Red Tent are in regards to its biblical inaccuracies.

Let me start by saying that if you're a moral conservative who believes in the Old Testament, I'd advise caution before reading this book. That's not to say you shouldn't read it; just be aware befo
Will Byrnes
Nov 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Anita Diamant - image from her site

The Red Tent offers a female perspective on the biblical tales of Jacob, father to the twelve tribes of Israel, and his family, people with some serious issues, who would be right at home on HBO, with copious quantities of blood and betrayal to hold one’s interest. Dinah was the only daughter of Jacob. It is through her eyes and her retelling of others’ tales that we see the world of that time, the social organization within the family, how they related to oth
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a very compelling read, and I don't have enough words to describe how beautiful the writing is. Anita Diamant wove a very intricate and poignant story that captivated me, and I think I'll be moonstruck for a while!

The "Red Tent" follows the life of Jacob's daughter, Dinah, who's a minor character in the Book of Genesis. Diamant pretty much expanded Dinah's story and it's told from her POV. As her story unfolds, you will get to witness the lives of her mothers: Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and
Jul 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
My frustration with this book stemmed primarily from the depiction of the various characters. I liked the writing, I liked the way Diamant addresses the contemporary socio-cultural issues, and I thought the characterization was quite vivid--I just didn't agree with the way the characters were presented. Yes, the people in the Bible were real people with varied flaws and gifts, but I didn't like the portrayal of so many of them as petty and conniving. And I especially didn't like the sexual depic ...more
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
While I enjoyed the parts about midwifery and wish that a place like the Red Tent really did exist, I think that the author got the story all wrong. She turned all the men in the book, including men like Jacob and Joseph, into sex crazed, egotistical, superstitious bigots. I think she took WAY TOO much creative license and basically re-wrote the bible to her liking. In some part she didn't even try to be historically accurate with what the bible says.For example, she says that Joseph and Potifar ...more
It doesn't matter at all what is fiction and what is history in this book - it is just as lovely to imagine what it would be like if such a custom as "the red tent" did exist. I have now finished the book. WOW! Diamant truely moves our emotions. The beauty of birth, the sorrows AND wonders of aging, the horror of injustice - elements that are a part of all lives. The ending of the book is so beautiful and profound. What exactly is it that we want to reap from our lives? What hurts most? To be to ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago, so I’m not comfortable giving it a review. I did enjoy the book, I know that.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
What of me? Did he mention me? Did he repent of what he did to me?
He said nothing of you. Dinah is forgotten in the house of Jacob.

*2018 Re-read *

Recently I watched the 2014 two part episode of this book starring Minnie Driver, Rebecca Ferguson, and Iain Glen. Like any good reader that has read a book years before a screen version(and Goodread) appears, I wanted to see how my memory has held up and if this book still has that "wow" factor that I recall.

Although I still would consider this bib
Joe Krakovsky
I did not finish reading this book because on a personal level I found it too disgusting. It doesn't even deserve the 1 star rating, but being as the author seemed to have done a lot of research I will give her some credit for that. To use a phrase so much in vogue right now, I found it very offensive on various levels.

To begin with, it seemed that the book centered around the menstrual period of women. Yes, I know it is a fact of life, but come on, do you have to be so uncouth? I lose a lot of
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Ouch. What a slog this friggin’ thing was. The Red Tent has literally been pushed on me by real life friends/family/acquaintances for the past 10 years. Being a not-so-religious type of gal, I actively avoided it knowing it would most likely not be my cuppa, as well as to keep the peace. When the library challenge came around requesting readers to “push their shelf” I figured it was time to bite the bullet. Now I only hope that thi
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
I had to read "The Red Tent" for a book club I was in a few years ago. I agree with an earlier post that decribes it as chick-lit masquerading as historical fiction. It also seemed to be two different books - one set in the desert with Jacob, biblical super-stud, and his wives; and the other one set in ancient Egypt. There were all sorts of things that irritated me about this book, including:

1. Descriptions like how everyone loves Rachel because she smells like water. What kind of water - pond w
This book is my exception to the rule book. Generally I will be tying on my sneakers good and secure, and heading for the hills at great speed if anyone threatens (recommends) me with a tale of female bonding, sisterhood and lovey-dovey fuzziness. At first glance I would have interpreted this as a sort of biblical version of the First Wives club or some other story where all the ladies band together in order to achieve some sense of self and self worth and to high five each other and sing songs ...more
The Red Tent is another book that has been sitting in my library for years being published in 1997. Anita Diamant took from the Bible the story of Dinah that is only hinted at in the Book of Genesis whose chapters talk of her father Jacob and his twelve sons, the most celebrated her brother Joseph. In the Prologue to this beautiful book, Dinah asserts that her story was lost because the chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the word passed to the keeping of men who had no way of kno ...more
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This is an epic tale based on the Biblical character Dinah and her life. I found the story very moving, and much credit goes to the author, Anita Diamant. I think she is a great storyteller, a la Barbara Kingsolver and John Irving. Although I was familiar with Dinah and what happened to her from having read her story in the Bible, Ms. Diamant's story is much richer and complex. Though I should add that some religious people, especially those who believe Bible to be literally true, may be offende ...more
Emily May
Oct 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, 2016
I thought the first half of The Red Tent was very compelling. I liked the focus on the female relationships - a complex web of love, teamwork and jealousies - and enjoyed seeing the story behind the story we know. My favourite parts were near the beginning when we learn about Leah, Rachel, Zilpah and Bilhah growing up and becoming Jacob's wives, and their subsequent forays into motherhood.

Unlike some readers, I had no problem with the female-centric feel to the novel. In fact, it seems like a fu
Nov 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
After seeing a few positive reviews of this book, I chose to read it to give myself a break as I struggled to get through a much larger book. I was mesmerized from the prologue through to the epilogue-- and without being overly sentimental, overly dramatic or overly detailed, the book drew tears more than once.

Using a few lines from the Bible as framework, the author breathes life into the oft-told, well-known story of Jacob, his wives, Joseph, his brothers and most importantly, Dinah.

Without d
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
Okay, so I knew before I read this book that it wasn't written for my demographic. I'm an adult male. This is a woman's book through and through. With that disclaimer in place, take what I'm about to say worth a grain of salt: I really didn't care for this book.

The Red Tent is the "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Steel Magnolias," or "The Notebook" of the Old Testament set. It tracks the life of a quaternary character in Genesis, Dinah, from before her birth to after her death. Diamant takes massive, bu
K.D. Absolutely
For me, this is a book that is hard not to like. Last month, I and some friends here in Goodreads agreed to read the Bible for 12 months. Most of us are now on the seventh book, Judges and so far, my favorite is still Genesis. The reason is that there are just too many interesting events in it and so many unforgettable characters whose stories can be told and retold many times but we will not be tired hearing about them.

One of these stories is that of Isaac and Sara who have two sons, Esau and J
Jan 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Okay, I really struggled through this book. I loved reading from the perspective of a woman in the Old Testament. That part was great. I have been told many-a-time that I am an individual who CHOOSES to be naive and for that reason, I didn't like the way the author portrayed some of the characters--some of my heroes--from the OT. There were just some disturbing things in there--like Jacob masturbating--(there is worse than that in the book, believe me) that I thought were AWFUL. In the end, Jose ...more
Now perhaps I am being a bit hypocritical here, as I do in fact realise that I am more often than not rather majorly pedantic with regard to historical fiction depicting the truth (or perhaps more to the point, showing and presenting as much of the truth, as much of historic reality as possible). But come on, considering that Anita Diamant's The Red Tent is primarily based on the Old Testament, one could and likely even should (and with my apologies to those of you who actually do consider ALL o ...more
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll have to think about this...I may go back and add another star, depending on what stays with me. I think if I wasn't reading this book through a Latter-day Saint lens, I would have given it four stars, because the prose is absolutely gorgeous.
This is the story of Dinah, the sister of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Levi, Joseph, Benjamin, etc., etc. You know, the twelve sons of Jacob. It is written by Anita Diamant, and does a wonderful job of giving motivation to all the things that happen from the ti
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: may-18, 5000-books
The first time I read this book years ago my frustration stemmed from primarily the depiction of the various characters. And I mean ALOT of characters.
However, this time I decided to read it slowly so that I could focus and absorb the characters and the story.
I loved the celebration of a strong female character and heroine. I loved Dinah's quiet strength, her confidence and her self-awareness.
Anita Diamant was able to sweep me up and carry me away to another time and place.
A place where there is
This is one of my favorite books. I love the community of women in this book. In this society, women came together in the red tent during their periods. The older woman helped to care for the younger woman and support them. The husbands had to care for the house and children while a woman was in the red tent and the woman focused on their dreams and each other.

This is set during the time of the bible and if my memory serves, this woman is the sister to Joseph, who ends up in Egypt.

I like the su
Books Ring Mah Bell
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
My apologies to Anita Diamant. This book is good, in the sense that she takes an interesting concept (a bit of the bible) and expounds upon it. And, in all fairness, she wrote well. Alas, this was just NOT my cup of tea. No sir.

Here I'd like to throw in a disclaimer that I am not one who finds the Bible holy. If I were and then I read this book, I'm thinking I may have been offended. So, be warned if you think you are getting biblical fiction that is... unoffensive? All I can say about this is t
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: The Red Tent - Anita Diamant - 4 stars 4 16 Oct 31, 2022 06:34PM  
Fictionalized Bible Stories 2 19 Oct 15, 2022 03:56PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add new cover edition for Kindle 4 69 Oct 05, 2022 08:38AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add new edition of The Red Tent 2 26 Aug 24, 2022 05:15AM  
Best Keto Supplement 1 6 Mar 10, 2021 01:12AM  
How To Choose The Best Keto Supplement 1 3 Mar 04, 2021 01:46AM  
ketoreportreviewprocess 1 4 Jan 19, 2021 03:29AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Girl with a Pearl Earring
  • Water for Elephants
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • The Poisonwood Bible
  • The Secret Life of Bees
  • The Help
  • The Kite Runner
  • The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9)
  • Sarah's Key
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • Gone with the Wind
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • All the Light We Cannot See
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
  • The Nightingale
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • Orphan Train
  • The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Anita Diamant is the author of thirteen books -- including THE RED TENT. Based on the biblical story of Dinah, THE RED TENT became a word-of-mouth bestseller in the US and around the world, where it has been published in more than 25 countries.

Her new book, a work of nonfiction. PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE. A NEW CHAPTER IN THE FIGHT FOR MENSTRUAL JUSTICE will be published in May 2021., As different

Related Articles

Writing about the ancient Near East in 1500 B.C.E. means that no one can really challenge my recipe for goat stew. The closer you get to modern...
4 likes · 21 comments
“If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully. Stories about food show a strong connection. Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business. The more a daughter knows about the details of her mother's life - without flinching or whining - the stronger the daughter.” 426 likes
“The painful things seemed like knots on a beautiful necklace, necessary for keeping the beads in place.” 184 likes
More quotes…