The Red Tent: A Novel
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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 are to sustain her through a damaged 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, immediate connection.
Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of Biblical women's society.
called upon me in this matter as well,” said Re-mose, his mouth growing smaller and more pursed at every mention of his master. “Imagine my surprise when I learned that he sought none but my own mother. He was suddenly impressed by my lineage when he learned that you were a countryman of his,” Re-mose added ironically. “The vizier charged me to put aside duties of state, to walk into the Valley of the Kings and accompany you to his house. He ordered me not to return without you.” “You do not
featured—from Rebecca in the Hebrew Bible, to Mary in the Christian Bible. Today, a great many women—in all faith traditions—read the Bible with a heightened sensitivity to the presence and absence of the women characters. The truth is, the same can be said of many men of faith as well: the conversation has changed for everyone. 7. How did you come to have the idea of the red tent itself; did it occur to you early in the writing process, or did it evolve with the novel’s creation? First, it’s
fingers were too thick to master the art of spinning. But because Nanna loved his daughter he let her go. “Uttu went first to the east, to the land of the Green River, but the women there would not put aside their drums and flutes to listen to the goddess. “Uttu went to the south, but she arrived in the middle of a terrible drought, when the sun had robbed the women of their memories. ‘We need nothing but rain,’ they said, forgetting the months when their children had died of cold. ‘Give us
the messenger, who by then had covered the fire of her hair and lowered her eyes. “She comes from your mother,” Leah said. “Rebecca bids us attend her barley festival. The messenger awaits your reply.” Jacob seemed startled by the newcomer’s presence but composed himself quickly and told Leah that they would obey Rebecca in everything, and that he would come to her at harvest time, he and his wives, with his sons and his daughters. Werenro then withdrew to my mother’s tent and slept. I worked
her, Re-nefer began to weep—not tears of relief and happiness from a woman glad to be reunited with her family, but the raw sobs of a mother whose child had been murdered in his bed. Re-nefer howled in her bewildered brother’s arms. She dropped to her knees and keened, giving voice to a broken heart. The terrible sound brought all of Nakht-re’s household into the room: cooks and gardeners, bakers and children, and the lady of the house. Nakht-re gathered his sister up and put her on his own