The four profound weaves

R. B. Lemberg

Book - 2020

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 lif...e he dreamed of and Uiziya, and Uiziya must discover how to challenge a tyrant, and weave from deaths that matter.

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Fantasy fiction
San Francisco : Tachyon 2020.
Main Author
R. B. Lemberg (author)
First edition
Physical Description
175 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Lemberg's outstanding debut novel expands on the short stories of the Birdverse that they have been publishing for about a decade, most frequently in the lit mag Beneath Ceaseless Skies, drawing readers into a lush desert world and the two elders from different cultures navigating its wilds. Uiziya, a weaver of the desert snake-Surun' people, has waited 40 years for her exiled aunt Benesret to return and teach her the Four Profound Weaves, which would enable her to create a carpet of wind, carpet of sand, a carpet of song, and a carpet of bones. Nen-sasaïr, a trans man from the more urban land of Iyar, only recently revealed his true gender and is now alienated from home and family. He comes to the desert hoping to re-ground himself by asking Benesret for a new name. When the two get tired of waiting, they set out together on a quest to find Benesret themselves and, through her, realize their dreams. Uiziya and nen-sasaïr's journey is enthralling and frequently moving, as along the way they are repeatedly faced with the choice "to care or not, as all people do." Lemberg writes deeply considered, evocative portraits of their characters, handling sexuality and gender especially well. This diverse, folkloric fantasy world is a delight to visit. (Sept.)

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Review by Library Journal Review

DEBUT Uiziya e Lali has waited 40 years for her aunt to teach her the last of the Four Profound Weaves: of wind, sand, song, and bone. But her aunt, Benesret, is a master weaver to assassins, and Surun' weavers have exiled her. In the city of Iyar, the Khana women are traders, traveling in caravans; the Khana men are scholars, living much of their lives cloistered. A nameless man arrives, trying to find his place in a body that finally fits him after decades living as woman, wife, and mother, looking for Benesret to firm up his place in the world. As he and Uiziya search for Benesret, looking for answers to their individual questions, they must come together to deal with the Collector, the evil Iyar ruler who hoards power and death. VERDICT Nebula-nominated Lemberg's first novella, set in their deeply queer "Birdverse" universe, presents a beautiful, heartfelt story of change, family, identity, and courage. Centering two older transgender protagonists in the midst of emotional and physical journeys highlights the deep, meaningful prose that Lemberg always brings to their stories.--Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton

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