Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book: The Red Tent (Re-read)

I did not spend my entire holiday weekend reading. However, I've slowly been accumulating a stack of books that I've finished reading without blogging about them, this is the first of three.

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I love this book. I think this reading was probably at least my 3rd time, possibly the 4th or maybe even the 5th. I received my copy as a gift, on my birthday in 2001, from a friend who loved it, too. (I know this because she was kind enough to write in it, ensuring I will never part with this copy!) Diamant is terrific story teller. I have since read some her other novels, and while I generally recommend her has an author, I have enjoyed this one the most.

The Red Tent is a fictionalized history of the four wives of the Biblical Jacob, and "their" daughter Dinah, born to Leah. Other than a brief mention in the Biblical account, we don't know what happened to her after her brothers avenged her honor at Shechem, thus the fiction which tells of her life both before and after that.

The title dwelling was a place where women had a respite from their usual work for a few days during each new moon. A few days spent only in each other's company. Babies were born in the red tent. Friendships were formed. The bonds of sisterhood deepened. As the only daughter in the family, the story tells her upbringing by four mothers not just the one who gave birth to her.

Some may not like this book because it embellishes the Biblical account and fills in narrative where it is quiet. It is a work of fiction, so like any book in that genre, it can't be read as truth. However, it is a beautiful story, one I highly recommend.

The Red Tent
by Anita Diamant
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