Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Currently Reading: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


I picked this book up at Barnes and Noble last month and it instantly moved to the top of my February TBR list. One of the reviews on the back describes it as "what the Bible would be like if it had been written by women" and lets be honest, how could I not take it home with a description like that? I have a huge soft spot for rewrites that seek to reintroduce women's perspectives, as they are so often erased, and the Bible is a huge example of men erasing the stories of women to suit their own narratives.

The story is narrated by Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph. Dinah, as I understand it, is briefly referenced in the Bible and thus we can assume she was a real person, but very little is known about her, as is typical of the women in Biblical tales. According to her narration, in the Bible "there is a passage that seems to say I was raped and continues with the bloody tale of how my honor was avenged." I expect she will elaborate on this later on, but I have not made it that far yet. Basically the book is an imagining of the women of her family's lives, a telling of the stories that the men who wrote the Bible did not deem worthy of telling. So far the story is has focused on her mother and aunts and their lives as Jacob's wives.

So far I am really enjoying this book. I've been pleasantly surprised to find that I actually recognize some of the Biblical references. I don't really do the religion thing so religious references sometimes make a wooshing sound as they fly over my head. It is rather shameful for an English major if I'm being honest. I keep meaning to read some of the stories just for their literary merit, but I always get bored. So far, however, I have found this book anything but boring. Maybe after reading it I will be able to get myself to trudge through some of the Bible itself, but I doubt I will ever do so with the same enthusiasm I have for this re-imagining of biblical women's lives.



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