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Publisher's Summary

Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable contribution in modern fiction: a new perspective of female life in biblical society. It is a vast and stirring work described as what the Bible might have been had it been written by God's daughters instead of sons. Far beyond the traditional women-of-the-Bible sagas in both impact and vigor, The Red Tent is based upon a mention in Genesis of Jacob's only female offspring - his daughter, Dinah. 

Author Anita Diamant, in the voice of Dinah, gives an insider's look at the details of women's lives in biblical times and a chronicle of their earthy stories and long-ignored histories. The red tent of the title is the place where women were sequestered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and illness. It is here that Dinah hears the whispered stories of her four mothers - Jacob's wives Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah - and tells their tales to us in remarkable and thought-provoking oratories. 

Familiar passages from the Bible take on new life as Dinah fills in what the Bible has left out - the lives of women. Dinah tells us of her initiation into the religious and sexual practices of the tribe; Jacob's courtship with Rachel and Leah; the ancient world of caravans, farmers, midwives, and slaves; her ill-fated sojourn in the city of Sechem; her years in Canaan; and her half-brother Joseph's rise in Egypt.

Skillfully interweaving biblical tales with characters of her own invention, the author re-creates the life of Dinah providing an illuminating portrait of a courageous woman and the life she might have lived. A new view of the panorama of life in biblical times emerges from the female perspective, and the red tent itself becomes a symbol of womanly strength, love, and wisdom.

The Red Tent is one of those extremely rare publishing phenomenons - a little promoted, but dynamically successful book (over 250,000 copies sold) that owes its success to enthusiastic word-of-mouth endorsements. Now, for the first time, this sweeping saga, which has struck a chord with so many modern-day women, comes to life as a much-anticipated audiobook. 

Don't miss Anita Diamant at the 92nd Street Y.
©1997 by Anita Diamant (P)2000 by Audio Renaissance, An Imprint of Renaissance Media, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Winner, Adult Fiction, 2001

"The oldest story of all could never seem more original, or more true." (James Carroll, author of An American Requiem)
"Carol Bilger narrates with a warmth and melodiousness that echo the rhythm of the musical interludes that separate chapters." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Red Tent

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,257
  • 4 Stars
    1,168
  • 3 Stars
    552
  • 2 Stars
    204
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Performance
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    2,573
  • 4 Stars
    787
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  • 2 Stars
    89
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    2,479
  • 4 Stars
    739
  • 3 Stars
    367
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    157

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The key word is 'fiction'

First, I found this book to be a very enjoyable listen, and I thought the narrator did a fine job, especially with pronunciations and emoting. I'm always unpleasantly surprised by reviewers who rate a book low because it wasn't what they 'expected.' Listening to a book with an open mind and heart can bring a lot of unexpected pleasure. There is nothing offensive or blasphemous about this work of FICTION. It is not a Bible story nor does it claim to be. It is written and narrated in a lovely and poetic fashion, and paints a picture of what life MIGHT have been like for Dinah and her families in a time we know very little about. It is slow moving at times, heart-wrenching on occasion, but, in my opinion, it is beautifully written and a touching story. Open minds in search of an interesting listen might very well enjoy this.

142 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Pleased

I am a 25 year old man. This is not only a book for women. I absolutley loved it. It made me laugh and cry numerous times. The narrator was great and the writing was never boring or tedious. I highly recommend this book to anyone!

104 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A Great Read for Women's History Buffs

One of my favorite courses in college was "The History of Women". This course explored the role of women beginning with Eve and went right through until modern times. One of the most interesting areas was exploring women of the Bible. We learned that the cycle of the earth/cycle of life were very much worshipped by women and respected by men until the onset of the "One God". As women were forced to worship the "One God" they forgot their past and no longer felt proud of their roles as women, their monthly cycles or their ability to bring forth new life. Instead they were made to feel ashamed.

The red tent was the place where women would gather when they were menstruating. It was a time to relax and discuss women issues. They were secluded from men and younger girls and older women would attend to the daily chores. It was also where they would go when giving birth or tending to the sick. As I read the story of Dinah and her mothers, I was somewhat envious of their times in the Red Tent and their rejoicing at their ability to be the ones to bring new life into the world.

The audible version was very well done. I only downloaded it as a "2" but think from now on I will download at higher versions to get a richer sound. The music was distorted at this level and the voice somewhat tinny. Still, the narrator did an excellent job and I was completely immersed into Dinah's world.

91 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An Uplifting Midrash

First, I would like to address so many of the previous reviews, who seem to be slaving away under the chains of delusion that make them think this is a work of "Christian Fiction". Just because it is about biblical figures, does not make it Christian Fiction. Christians do not own the bible, and especially don't own the Pentatuch. If one only wants to read Christian fiction and not be "disgusted and polluted" by other cultures, ideas, and ways of life and thinking, then do a little more research about the books you buy and about the authors who write them.

The author is Jewish, and the people she writes about are pagans who are struggling with trying to put on the coat of monotheism. They are converts! This book is Midrash.
Midrash is a way of dealing with biblical stories that goes beyond a simple boiling down of rabbinical legalism. It is an accepted and valuable way of interpereting scripture that keeps the text alive and fresh, and offers possible solutions for massive gaps left in biblical narration. It goes on every time a Jew studies and discusses the Torah, and forms a prayerful opinion of what the underlying meaning of a holy text may hold.

Many Jewish and even Muslim traditions, as well as some Progressive Christian traditions encourage this kind of discussion, supposition and reflection. They seek to learn what God really desires from his creation, and celebrate the reality of the gift of free will and free thought. When you close a religious Cannon what you get is a rotten corpse.

This book does have some very frank references to the human condition, especially where women are concerned. Personally I found them rather clinical, and in no way see how they could be confused with pornography. This is an adult book, but perhaps a mature and well-guided 16 year-old could process this material, but again, only with the proper guidance.

I can see how this book could be considered dangerous and confusing to people who have taken on the yoke of fundamentalist religion of any denomination. Those people might worry that a book like this could damage a fragile,weak, or flawed hold on fundamentalist "faith", especially by new converts or those prone to independant thinking and study.

A compass only points to "N" when the person who is holding it faces true north.

76 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Abomination and Sacrilege

If there were negative stars, I would mark that. This doesn't even deserve one star...If you grew up reading the scriptures and counting them as sacred along with the account of the historical characters, you will find this book an abomination. She literally takes the real characters and makes up what she wants about them with no historical facts. You will soon find yourself listening to sacrilege when you hear her describe men who are descendents of David and the Messiah masturbate or continually have sexual relations with sheep and goats. If anyone is familiar with scripture, you will also realize that she doesn't even come close to any truth in her book.

I find it appalling that people can take actual historical characters and make up a story that is far from what actually happened. This woudn't be so upsetting if she had written about fictional characters. Because she has taken Holy scripture and historical accounts and warped and mutilated the message, in my opinion, she is guilty of treason against God.

The narrator also has a voice that is hard to listen to..very monotone.

73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

It's not the Bible

This is a work of fiction, not fact or truth. Anita Diamant has taken a tiny bit of the Bible and created a compelling tale of triumph and tragedy, of happiness and sorrow, of hope and despair. If you are expecting a retelling of the Bible, then you will be disapponted.
The narrator was good, and the background music that is interspersed through the reading is beautiful. I personally think this book is meant to be read aloud, in true oral history fashion.

46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

highly-recommended -- fun, moving, thot-provoking

This tale re-writes the bible story of Joseph, from the imagined perspective of the women involved. A fascinating read, rich as a fictional story and richer still as a subversive critique of the bible. The story dramatized how attuned the bible was to the male perspective - and how amazingly unattuned it was to the female perspective. As a man, I personally didn't feel insulted like the other reviewer (Andrew) felt by the portrayals of men, but maybe I'm just liberal. I also appreciated seeing how monotheism co-existed with polytheism for so long (long after Abraham smashed idols in his dad's shop), and how women and men may have viewed the introduction of monotheism very differently.
All in all, a fun, moving, thought-provoking, and beautifully-written story. Highly recommended.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting reading

This is my favorite kind of read. It's a good story and also makes another time and place seem familiar. After reading this, one wants to go back to the Bible to see how much of the Red Tent story is related there. An amazing amount of the book's details are actually in the Bible. I would highly recommend this book.

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome!

I loved this book. It is very entertaining. I heard it in a few days. Couldnt put my ipod down :) The reader did a great job and made you feel like she was really telling her story. Enjoy!

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Offensive, and Crude

Don't even bother with this one. If anything could be farther off base it would be hard to find. The descriptions of masterbation and bestiality are only the begining. Not only does it incorrectly follow the original story, the author meanders around quite awhile without ever achieving a point.

Historically very inaccurate, and discusting. There could have been so much more potential for this story. Don't waste your time or money on this one. Total waste of time, could not even finish it.

Story is supposed to be from a woman's point of view. Well I'm a woman and I've never viewed men quite the way the author presents woman, or the men. Historically and Biblically this one is really bad.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • CZ
  • 10-04-22

Didn't care for the narrator

The story was only so-so and the narrator's voice wasn't natural, felt flat despite it trying to be sing-songy. Hard to describe. I couldn't finish the book.