The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (unabridged audiobook read by Carol Bilger; 12 hrs on 10 CDs): Most people know the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors, but do you recall that he also had a sister? Dinah is only mentioned in a single chapter of Genesis, and then only as a victim. This is her story. Though told in first person by Dinah herself, it covers the time period from her parents meeting to years after her own death. I admit I was more interested in learning about Bronze Age life than Old Testament drama, but I enjoyed the narrative as well – more or less. I never felt any sort of emotional tie to any of the characters, perhaps because Dinah herself was so fixated on motherhood as to almost be a caricature of pre-suffrage womanhood. Though I understand and accept that motherhood was the primary occupation and ambition of most women of the time, I got a little tired of the constant obsession with wombs and menstruation and pregnancy. Then again, the male characters weren’t any more developed. I was surprised by the devoted polytheism of the wives of staunchly monotheistic Jacob, though given the lack of communication between the sexes I suppose it’s not so far-fetched. I’m not sure if I’d recommend this one or not. I mean, it was okay, but not a story that will stick with me.

A note on the audio: Bilger’s pronunciation of Dinah took some getting used to: I would have said DYE-nuh, but Bilger said DEE-nuh. Her voice was so gentle that I felt like I was listening to an advertisement for prescription medication, but all in all she was fine: inoffensive and unmemorable.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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