The Red Tent Review

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The Red Tent: Remembering Seems a Holy Thing Memory. It can be soft and plush, like a slow, summer day, or frantic, disorienting, like a day in which nearly – but not all, is lost. Or tranquil, sweet, holy, like the scent of flowers by a pond you dip your hands in, just to feel its coolness. “My memory is dust” says Dinah. “It is terrible how much has been forgotten, which is why, I suppose, remembering seems a holy thing” (3). Author of The Red Tent, Anita Diamant, brings to life the voice and memory of an overlooked character, who does not utter a word in the Bible. Diamant says “[Dinah] cried out for explanation, and I decided to imagine one.” From brief mentions of Dinah in the Bible, surrounding the more familiar ones of Jacob, her father, sprung Dinah’s story. Dinah’s story includes that of her mothers, Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah. In the red tent, Dinah learns of her mothers’ past and present. They tell her secrets, stories and advice that will sustain her throughout her youth and into her calling to midwifery, as well as motherhood. Dinah grows up surrounded by caring mothers, but when she is separated from them and thrust into a foreign land, she indubitably feels lost and alone. Thus her journey truly begins to find the legacy the Bible stole from her. In telling Dinah’s story, Diamant allows the reader to learn so much about the culture of Haran, Canaan, Shechem, and Egypt which, in turn, makes the writing very realistic. Diamant uses rather simple vocabulary but in a biblical writing style. Though the majority of it is narrative and descriptive, using more tell than show, I still thoroughly enjoyed this perspective of biblical times through a woman’s eyes as well as life before modern technology and culture. I was left with the same sentimental thoughts as Dinah: though we all must leave this earth at some point, “there is no magic to

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