The Red Tent is the story of Dinah, a minor character in the book of Genesis. The brief episode in which she appears is usually referred to as the“rape of Dinah” —a difficult passage for biblical commentators over the centuries because of the murderous behavior of Jacob’s sons. Dinah does not say a single word in the biblical text; what happens to her is recounted and characterized as rape by her brothers.In Diamant’s retelling, Dinah is given a voice. The Red Tent is told entirely from her perspective and the point of view of the women around her.
The Red Tent is historical fiction, but because it is based on a biblical story, many readers feel a special connection to its cast of characters,whose names echo through the ages to our own time and the 21st century babies named Jacob, Rachel, Joseph and even Dinah.Published in 1997, The Red Tent became a paperback best seller thanks to word-of-mouth support. With no advertising budget and few reviews, the book found its audience through the loyalty of readers, the support of independent bookstores, and help from clergy who preached about The Red Tent from the pulpit. The Red Tent – a perennial book group favorite — has been published in 25 countries and in 2014 was adapted as a miniseries by Lifetime TV.