The Four Profound Weaves

The Four Profound Weaves : A Birdverse Book

4.21 (64 ratings by Goodreads)
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Two transgender elders must learn to weave from Death in order to defeat an evil ruler--in the first novella set in R. B. Lemberg's award-winning queer fantasy Birdverse universe

"I am staggered by the richness and intricacy of R. B. Lemberg's imagination. The Four Profound Weaves is an intense and emotional story of a journey of change, growth, and courage." --Kate Elliott, New York Times bestselling author of the Court of Fives trilogy

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' nomads do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But aged Uiziya must find her aunt in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.

Among the Khana in the springflower city of Iyar, 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 his past catches up, the man must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya - while Uiziya must discover how to challenge the evil Ruler of Iyar, and to weave from deaths that matter.

In this breathtaking debut set in R. B. Lemberg's beloved Birdverse, The Four Profound Weaves hearkens to Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, and offers a timeless chronicle of claiming one's identity in a hostile world.

About the Birdverse

The Birdverse is the creation of fantasy author R. B. Lemberg. It is a complex, culturally diverse world, with a range of LGBTQIA characters and different family configurations. Named after its deity, Bird, Birdverse works have been nominated for the Nebula award, longlisted for the Hugo award and the Tiptree award, placed in the Rhysling award, won the Strange Horizons readers' poll, and more. The Four Profound Weaves is the first full-length work set in the Birdverse.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 127 x 203mm
  • United States
  • English
  • 1616963344
  • 9781616963347
  • 1,916,874

Review quote

Praise for Four Profound Weaves

"Just go read anything you can find by R. B. Lemberg. It will be worth the quest. The sheer beauty and power of their writing shows equally well in their prose and poetry . . . [The Four Profound Weaves is] both sweet and fierce, devastating and gentle in its truths.
--M. Crane Hana, author of The Purist

"The Four Profound Weaves is a very emotional and beautiful tale. The plot though imaginative and well executed was very much secondary to some very sensitive and poignant character development . . . The world of the Birdverse is intricate and spellbinding, the descriptions dazzle and the setting sings."
--Bookends & Bagends

"The Four Profound Weaves A Bird Verse Book is a tragically beautiful and melancholic tale about a nameless man who struggles to become himself after many years of living as a woman . . . It's a truly unique story with powerful characters and a writing style that's whimsically dark and fairytale-like."
--Asiana Circus "This story, very poetically, holds a mirror to society. It discusses the nuances of the trans experience and made me assess things I hadn't previously known or understood. It has had a profound impact on me. . . . The fifth profound weave is the way Lemberg takes feelings about gender, love and family, aging, and death and weaves them together into this captivating story."
--A Bookish Reader "The Four Profound Weaves is a balm and a call to arms. R. B. Lemberg reassures us that there's still time to find yourself, no matter how old you are; and they stir our revolutionary urges to defeat murderous dictators. But this novella is also a finely-drawn, realistic character study of people who love their communities but never quite feel at home in them. And the magical system is a sheer delight. Thoughtful and deeply moving, The Four Profound Weaves is the anti-authoritarian, queer-mystical fairy tale we need right now."
--Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous and The Future of Another Timeline "R.B. Lemberg writes with a luminous pen, spraying light all around their words and ideas. They create a universe where carpets and cloaks bear history and the future. A perilous chase, with assassins and gods in pursuit, reveals the fluidity of life by following the threads--both bright and dark--that weave together to create a complex and mystical journey toward friendship, family, and love."
--Jewelle Gomez, author, The Gilda Stories

"5/5 stars. R. B. Lemberg's first foray into long-form fiction has left me breathless. The Four Profound Weaves is a love ballad sung straight into the hearts of those who most need to hear it."

--Black Forest Basilisks

"Go read this story, tell it to your friends, and help us get to that future that we so desperately need."
--Trans Narrative

"R. B. Lemberg's The Four Profound Weaves tells the journey of a pair of aged and appealing wanderers searching for magic, art, identity, and peace. Thought-challenging points-of-view weave together stark violence, intricate powers, and the musings of long and complicated lives. The Four Profound Weaves contains imagery that glows on the page."
--Patricia McKillip, author of the Riddle-Master Trilogy and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld "Nobody in fantasy is doing what R. B. Lemberg is doing. Their work is generous, insightful, and focused on people--older, damaged, queer--whose stories most writers would keep in the background. This is a book about people walking into traps to find themselves, about fumbling out of stagnation and into adventure. Let this be your introduction to R.B.'s world of song carpets, deepnames, and deserts full of roving lovers."
--Isaac R. Fellman, author of The Breath of the Sun "Lemberg weaves a gripping tale of community, identity, betrayal, and hope. From the sweeping expanse of the desert to the confined splendor of a sinister palace, every page contains wonder. I flew through the story, breathless, needing to see what would come next, and I was rewarded with every twist in the narrative. The Birdverse is lush and gorgeous, even when painful, and The Four Profound Weaves takes the reader on a wild ride through some of the deepest and richest pockets of it."
--Julia Rios, Hugo Award-winning editor "I am staggered by the richness and intricacy of R. B. Lemberg's imagination. The Four Profound Weaves is an intense and emotional story of a journey of change, growth, and courage."
--Kate Elliott, author of the Court of Fives trilogy "Over the years, R. B. Lemberg, in their prose and poetry alike, has built a world of serpents, deserts, stars, and bones, where transformation is omnipresent and restlessness rewarded. The Four Profound Weaves is a jewel-bright tile in their ongoing mosaic. To read it is to experience apotheosis: but instead of toward heaven, we ascend toward a more total humanity. Weaves is a patient work, at times compellingly kind, at other times merciless. Always, subtly woven. Like the Nameless One in its pages, this book does not--perhaps cannot--pretend to be anything other than what it proclaims for itself: the four profound weaves--change, wanderlust, hope, death. But these aren't chronological; they're a pattern, a randomized one--and death is only the middle."
--C. S. E. Cooney, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Bone Swans, Stories "Reading the first pages of The Four Profound Weaves feels like being invited into the home of a beautiful stranger. As you sit with these characters and come to know them, you too will feel know. In reading this story about recognition and transformation, I felt recognized and transformed. It's a fantastic alchemy on Lemberg's part, and their love and labor shines off the page. I don't know any writer that could so skillfully take me apart with a story, or put me back together with such care. This was a story I didn't know I desperately needed."
--Nino Cipri, author of Dzanc Prize-winning Homesick "A brilliantly profound and poignant quest, through haunting desert and intricate city and terrifying dungeon, that's truly about people and change. The Four Profound Weaves is a deeply philosophical story of family and society, the unnamed, and the reach that those who've passed have on them all, as they struggle to keep change alive and find an embrace at last. Hope is the song, and it's woven of R.B. Lemberg's words."
--Scott H. Andrews, seven-time World Fantasy Award Finalist editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine

"R. B. Lemberg's The Four Profound Weaves takes the reader on a deeply resonant journey of transformation and strength. Lemberg's lyrical skill, combined with unforgettable characters and the magic of the Birdverse makes a stunning fabric over which this story plays beautifully."
--Fran Wilde, author of The Bone Universe and The Gemworld series

"Lyrical and unflinching."
--Rivers Solomon, PEN America

"If the plot is the warp of a story, then the weft of this novella is Lemberg's exquisitely crafted, luminescent prose. I delight in reading Lemberg's work just for the sheer beauty of the words and the gorgeous melody of the prose, and The Four Profound Weaves showcases their mastery in every paragraph."
--Maria Haskins, author of Odin's Eye "Go read this story, tell it to your friends, and help us get to that future that we so desperately need."
--Trans Narrative
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About R. B. Lemberg

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 ( and a full bio at
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Rating details

64 ratings
4.21 out of 5 stars
5 53% (34)
4 31% (20)
3 6% (4)
2 3% (2)
1 6% (4)
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