Book club: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


I’ve joined a book club. When I told a good friend, she casually remarked, “Yeah, right? And that’d float ya boat, sitting down and talking about books?” To which I had to say, I’m honestly not sure. I hope so! I love reading and I love writing and I am part of an online writers group where we critique each other’s work. So I’m hoping this will be a happy extension of my interests.

When I heard about this book club, my immediate reaction was, “YOU HAVE A BOOK CLUB! CAN I JOIN?!”

Because, lo and behold, I have been contemplating starting one up for a while now, but never realised that there was one already in action. It’s all about who you know, people.

My next question was, “So do you all read the novel and then go and sit around and drink wine with the occasional remark about the book, or do you actually have a proper conversation about it?” Apparently, yes, proper conversation. Which kind of scared me a bit…

The book for this month is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Originally published in 1997, this is the description from Booktopia:

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that tell of her father, Jacob, and his twelve sons.
Told in Dinah’s voice, Anita Diamant imagines the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood–the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of the mothers–Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah–the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through childhood, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past.
Deeply affecting, “The Red Tent” combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women’s lives.

Writers are told to read widely, so as to broaden our ideas and imagination. I’m not embarrassed to say that novels based on religion generally don’t ‘do it’ for me and this is not a book that I would personally have picked to read in a normal situation. So, for it to be the selected novel in the month that I join strengthens my reasons for becoming involved with a book club – I will occasionally be pushed out of my reading comfort zone. I am sure there will be books that I enjoy immensely and others that I have trouble finishing, but at least I will be trying something new.

And guess what? Having finished the prologue and Chapter One, I am so far pleasantly surprised and will happily continue to read it. Now to get it finished before Wednesday!

Are you in a book club? What book are you currently reading?

Have you read ‘The Red Tent’?

Joining in over at #WeekendRewind @Maxabella @Life Love and Hiccups @Hugzilla

7 thoughts on “Book club: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

  1. allisontaitwriter

    I am in a bookclub – the Pink Fibro Online Bookclub. We are currently reading A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson, which is a change of pace for us.


    • Hi Allison! I am on your FB bookclub page (so I should probably re-word my post to an in-real-life bookclub 😉 ) but haven’t commented in discussions as yet. I am getting better at this online deal – commenting etc – and since joining the AWC online workshopping group I think I am getting better at critiquing work and feeling comfortable doing so. Perhaps this month I will drop by? In my quest to read more widely, Bryson’s book is on my list so I shall try to read it before the end of September! Did you read ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’? I think I read half of it, and feel that I am probably a bit more mature to go back and finish it now, compared to 10 years ago.


  2. You will love The Red Tent! It is a brilliant read. I only realised it’s religious links after I read it so I read it purely as a drama without prejudice and thought it was compelling. Neat idea to join a book club. It’s so nice to collectively discuss isn’t it?


    • Ha! I am currently over reading your post when your comment here popped up. Yes, I was wondering if I would have even realised the religious links if I hadn’t read the description, as they definitely aren’t popping up (that I’ve noticed anyhow!). I’m looking forward to a discussion – something new for me other than ‘Yeah, it’s good, I really like it!’


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