The Red Tent illuminates the lives of women who are only briefly mentioned in the context of the men around them in the Bible. Dinah is more than just the daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph and their many brothers. She is a girl who grows up with four mothers, learning the feminine customs and the skills of midwifery in the red tent to which they all retreat each month. She's also the one whose life determines the fate of the entire family. This fictional imagining of Dinah grants her the hopes, fears, and--most of all--the agency she is denied in the male-centric stories of the Bible. Highly recommended, if only to contemplate the lives of the many, many women who lived their own rich lives alongside those detailed in the Bible.
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From the publisher’s description:
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, Zilpah, and Bilhah–the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women’s society.