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21 April 2010

Book Review: The Red Tent

The Red Tent
by Anita Diamant 


I struggled with this book; maybe it was the biblical characters forced into expansion against their will. Maybe it was that the story dealt with one of the worst, most disturbing stories of the bible. Maybe it was that imagining how awful the world must have smelled back then made it hard for me to relax. I don't know. I just wasn't enjoying it.

Then she got to Egypt and suddenly it became more readable. And more poignant. One review said something about basic truths reiterated. Nothing really struck home until the last 20 pages when, suddenly, she iterated two great basic truths. They aren't new to me but the language she used was particularly moving.

The painful things in life are like the knots on a beautiful necklace, necessary for keeping the beads in place.

There is no magic to immortality. If people love you, you never die. "Thus can something as insignificant as a name ... summon up the innumerable smiles and tears, sighs and dreams, of a human life."