What Dinah Thought

Deena Metzger, Author, Dee Metzger, Author Viking Books $19.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-82750-3
Poet, novelist and filmmaker Metzger's new novel is an amorphous feminist meditation on Jewish history. The biblical Dinah, Metzger's namesake in Genesis, loved Schechem, a prince of an alien tribe, whom her brothers treacherously slew. In the novel, Dina Z., a Jewish-American woman, is filming a documentary in Israel, but her pilgrimage leads her deep into her past as she sorrowfully ponders her people's patriarchal intolerance. When Dina falls in love with Jamine, a Palestinian activist for whom she gowns herself in a Bedouin wedding dress in a bazaar, she intimately relives Dinah's tragedy. She names their daughter Asenath, as Dinah did, but Jamine's fate remains unknown. The novel does not proceed as a linear narrative, but is structured like a cluster of dreams, as Dina identifies with her ancestress, retelling the tale in its variations. Was Dinah stoned as a harlot, or did she go to Egypt with her half-brother Joseph to become a priestess? Perhaps Dinah was a type of the Great Mother Goddess, Ishtar. The novel tends to ramble repetitiously but, at its best, is a rich, thoughtful and unusual creation. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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