Saturday, February 12, 2011

{Between the Pages: "The Red Tent"}

Anita Diamant's The Red Tent is a work of historical fiction told by one of the Bible's silent characters, Dinah.  As Dinah tells the story of her life, she beautifully details the life of a family's women, their importance, their struggles, and their interconnected relationships with one another, their children, and the men that hold their fate.

While The Red Tent is a story rooted in biblical times it is not a story centered around religion, but rather a story of a tender woman silenced by the nature of the time in which she lived, and circumstances she was powerless to control.

Dinah details her autobiography beginning long before her birth.  Her story begins with her father, Jacob, a sheppard, and how he became married to her mother and her aunts.  Dinah learns of her history primarily through the stories she is told in the red tent.

As a young woman, Dinah experiences a tragic, life-changing event, altering the course of her life in a direction she clearly never could have imagined.

I found The Red Tent slow to start; as I reached the depths of the book it became clear why the set-up of the story was so pivotal to its premise.  There is a complex network of characters, which Diamant has illustrated in the front pages for reference.

While I'm a avid fan of history, I'm always hesitant to take on a work that does not portray pure fact.  Diamant does an exquisite job of weaving her research of existence in the ancient world into the life of a woman silenced by her circumstance.

The novel began reading as an educational tool.  Slowly, the author brought to life the thoughts, feelings, tastes and smells of what I had only learned as biblical stories; it was then I began to view the characters as relatable.  As the novel progressed their seemingly parallel world blended into the world in which I live by virtue of humanity.

I recommend this book to anyone (male or female) who finds an interest in stories of the Bible and/or history.  However, much like The Future Homemakers of America, it is at its roots an elegant story of women.  Whereas The Future Homemakers of America focuses on the relationships of a group of women, The Red Tent concentrates on one character and delves even deeper into her inner thoughts, struggles, and pleasures.

I found Dinah completely relatable; her experiences refreshingly real, and oddly comforting.  The life and death of this woman is worth telling.  Diamant did it brilliantly.

[GiVe AwaY: Since I've completed the book, my copy is up for grabs.... The first reader to comment for request, the book is yours.]

AnD tHe bOOk gOeS tO cOrrIe!


Susie said...

Oh my goodness, Brooke, I loved this book- it was good for so many reasons and the depth of the subjects were creatively written and worked through. It was our very first book we read in our Ohio book club and so it holds a special place in my book library heart :) glad you liked it, too! Hey, are you on

Corrie said...

Ooh I would love to read that! I've heard great things about this book.

brookie said...

Congrats, Corrie. It's yours!

Susie, I am on, but I haven't needed to search it for a read; I've been keeping pretty busy with the book club and books others have passed on to me. I'm always looking for good suggestions!


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Fairborn, Ohio, United States
I'm a teacher by trade, writer at heart & mom in every sense of my being. I never considered writing as a profession, but after I got married and began moving around the country, I began sharing my adventures, misadventures & updates through a sort of e-mail newsletter. I found a true passion in unconventional story-telling that has followed me into motherhood.