The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
, published October 1997, is named after the place where women gathered during their cycles
of birthing, menses
, and even illness. The woman would retreat into the tent when they had their
periods, or were sick, or pregnant to escape from their work and relax in a supportive loving
The story is based on events from the bible, but is far from a literal reading, and the story is expanded
far beyond what little appears in the original story. The Red Tent tells the story of Dinah, Jacob's
daughter who appears briefly in the Book of Genesis from her vioce. We here the stories of her
four mothers , Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah. Through out the story is weaved the theme
of woman's menses which are celebrated rather than viewed as disgusting, filthy and private.
The tone gets a lot darker throughout the second half of the book when Dinah is torn from her family
and her happiness destroyed by the revenge of her brother's, but it is moving and rich book.
The paperback version is still making bestsellers lists years later.