Weaving magic, queer characters, and a story about belonging, The Four Weaves is a fabulous novella. It’s a story about searching for a feeling of belonging, realizing that perhaps we also need to find it within ourselves. A radical act of self-acceptance. Keep reading my book review of The Four Weaves to see what I loved!
Wind: To match one’s body with one’s heart
Sand: To take the bearer where they wish
Song: In praise of the goddess Bird
Bone: To move unheard in the night
The Surun’ do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But Uiziya now seeks her aunt Benesret in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.
Among the Khana, women travel in caravans to trade, while men remain in the inner quarter as scholars. A nameless man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after many years of performing the life of a woman, trader, wife, and grandmother.
As the past catches up to the nameless man, he must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya, and Uiziya must discover how to challenge a tyrant, and weave from deaths that matter.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: misgendering, transphobia, deadnaming
What I loved about The Four Profound Weaves was not only how inventive it was, but also how deeply emotional it is. I’m not familiar with the Birdverse, but there’s enough explained that you can jump right in, and I would highly recommend. It’s a story about searching for belonging and acceptance. About societies that are committed to binaries, to denying the existence of all else, and to others that interweave it within their culture. It’s about the feeling of not fitting in with the roles, but also with the people around you.
Additionally, the magic of weaving was so unique and inventive. I loved the world building created around this action. While I still have a few questions about it, which may have been answered in the other Birdverse stories, it left me fascinated.
The Four Weaves, while it deals with transphobia and not being accepted, also has these moments of queer joy. Of feelings of love, warm hugs of acceptance, and the fragments we find within ourselves. A dance and struggle of acceptance, loss, and hope. It’s about a world where people seek to destroy possibilities for change. Who fear the ability for change to alter the fabric of their lives, what they know, who seek to control it.
I adored The Four Weaves so much that I read the novella in one sitting! That’s right! If you’re a fan of queer fantasy, inventive magic, and novellas, then definitely check this out!
Buy it here:
About the Author
R. B. Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their stories and poems have appeared in Lightspeed Magazine’s Queers Destroy Science Fiction!, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny Magazine, Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, and many other venues. R.B.’s work has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, and other awards. You can find more of their work on their Patreon (patreon.com/rblemberg) and a full bio at rblemberg.net.
AUTHOR LINKSWebsite: http://roselemberg.net/
What songs would be on a Birdverse playlist?
I am happy to recommend the following pieces for a Birdverse playlist:
HasSak, “Orleu” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jY-7DSARzw&list=LLJC0tDR53N036FkR6Zoc3Kw&index=52
Guessous Majda Mária – Átváltozás (Metamorphosis) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsaBkMmdtrQ
Mel’nitsa – Pover’ (feel free to ignore the Christian iconography in the video, there’s none in the text) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ho38HpPOdE
DJ Cheb i Sabbah – Im Nin’alou https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgI_b8Wbw0E
Achinoam Nini – Keren Or (Ray of Light) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLHLQ7a-Suo