Friday, 11 February 2011

Confessions of a Justified Bibliofile (1)

Welcome to the first of my Confessions of a Justified Bibliophile blog features, where I discuss the authors and books which have made the biggest impact in my life and on my writing. Each will be accompnied by a 'confession' related to the author or genre of the month.

Since this is my first Confessions... post and my Blogoversary, I'm holding a little competition to win the book I'm discussing. Just fill in the form at the bottom of the post. The winner will be selcted at random on 11th March 2011. I'm using The Book Depository, so check that they ship to your country here. So what could you win?

Title: The Red Tent
Author: Anita Diamant
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: You will have heard of Joseph, the youngest son of Jacob and the oldest son of his favourite wife Rachel, but do you remember his sister from the Bible? Dinah's story barely takes up any room in the book of Genesis and it is told from the male persepective. This novel expands Dinah's story and attempts to interact with the account in Genesis to answer some of the questions many readers face; how could the son's of Jacob slaughter an entire city? why would a Prince look to marry a woman he had raped? what happened to Dinah?

Confession #1: I love reimaginings of existing stories. Whether it's Little Red Riding Hood comic book style, a novel based on a play by Shakespeare or a funky new spin on the vampire, re-tellings have always captured my imagination. So much so that my PhD is on the rewriting of myth in contemporary literature because the best thing about doing English Lit as a subject is that I get to work with literature I love, rather than literture someone else thinks is important.

This novel was recomended to me by a friend who thought that every woman should read this book. Not only is the writing excellent, the research into the history of the red tent shows and the concept of reading between the lines of patriarchial society really griped me. In some places the word midrash is used to describe this novel, something which Diamant disagrees with. Midrash is a particular way of interpreting a biblical story which goes beyond the surface level of the text and fills in gaps in the narrative. Its also sacred, which is where Diamant disagrees, quite rightly giving the full title as The Red Tent: A Novel.

Dinah is a character who haunts the reader long after the book has been closed. She is witty and bold and flawed and hurt. She somehow manages not to come accross as bitter, but melancholy. I am not a mother, but I would like to be some day and The Red Tent along with Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty are novels which inspire me to be a good mum (hopefully) and a good writer.

You can check out Anita Diamant's blog here and her thoughts on midrash and The Red Tent here.

To enter fill in this form. All informtion supplied will be used for the puropse of the competition only and will be deleted once a winner has been selected and contacted. If you supply a shipping address which is not on The Book Depository list for shipping, your entry will be deleted, so please check first. Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. I love this book. I was raised with the Rachel and Leah story (she is my namesake after all), and it's wonderful to not only see the story of her daughter but also see the story from a matriarchal point of view.