Susanita (bardhlul) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 32: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

I'd been meaning to read this for a while and finally got around to it when I saw a copy on the shelf of the recently renovated public library.

It's a fictionalized account of the life of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah and great-granddaughter of Abraham and Sarah. In the Bible she is only mentioned once, when her rape sets off a tale of violence and revenge, but this is a fully fleshed out story of the entire span of her life as told in her own words. While the story follows the same arc as Genesis and includes many of the same elements -- the uneasy relationship between Leah and Rachel, Jacob's dream on the eve of his reconciliation with Esau, Joseph's exile in Egypt -- but the bulk of the story is about her daily life learning and observing traditional women's roles in the ancient Middle East. There's also an extended period of time when Dinah lives with her grandmother Rebecca (who's quite a force of nature in her own right) and of course the defining incident mentioned in Genesis.

This was a fascinating look at the distaff side of ancient Biblical times. Dinah's voice is forthright and unassuming, and the story humanizes (though not always in a good light) some of the patriarchs first met many years ago in Sunday school.
Tags: fiction

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