cover image The Four Profound Weaves

The Four Profound Weaves

R.B. Lemberg. Tachyon, $14.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-61696-334-7

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.)