The Four Profound Weaves

The Four Profound Weaves : A Birdverse Book

3.83 (941 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.83 (941 ratings by Goodreads)

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Otherwise Award Honor List
World Fantasy, Nebula, and Ignyte Awards Finalist

Two transgender elders must learn to weave from Death in order to defeat an evil ruler--in the debut full-length work set in R. B. Lemberg's award-winning queer fantasy Birdverse universe

"The Four Profound Weaves is the anti-authoritarian, queer-mystical fairy tale we need right now."
--Annalee Newitz, author of The Future of Another Timeline

"A beautiful, heartfelt story of change, family, identity, and courage."
--Library Journal, starred review

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 nameless 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 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 shorter works have been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, Tiptree award, and Rhysling awards. 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 203 x 15.24mm | 178g
  • United States
  • English
  • 1616963344
  • 9781616963347
  • 36,783

Review quote

Buzzfeed Best Book Releases of the Week
Foreword Book of the Day
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Publishers Weekly Top-10 Titles of Fall 2020
Book Riot 10 Great Adult LBGTQ+ Fantasy Books of 2020
Ms. Magazine Reads for the Rest of Us
2020 Washington Post Gift Guide
2020 UK Guardian Gift Guide
Locus Recommended Reading List

[STARRED REVIEW] "DEBUT. 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." --Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW] "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. --Publishers Weekly

[STARRED REVIEW] "R. B. Lemberg spins a world of singing gods, desert nomads, and magic humming in the wind . . . Impressive world building renders the shifting hues of the desert sands and the cold stone of The Collector's palace in tight prose." --Foreword

"The Four Profound Weaves contains imagery that glows on the page." --Patricia McKillip, author of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

"What a treat: the full-length debut set in R.B. Lemberg's super-queer Birdverse universe! It's a wonder of identity, evolution and bravery in a time when we need it most. --Ms. Magazine

"A complex and mystical journey toward friendship, family, and love." --Jewelle Gomez, author of The Gilda Stories

"R. B. 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

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

"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

"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 Court of Fives

"Both sweet and fierce, devastating and gentle in its truths." --M. Crane Hana, author of The Purist

"The Four Profound Weaves is a jewel-bright tile in [Lemberg's] ongoing mosaic." --C. S. E. Cooney, author of Bone Swans, Stories

"In reading this story about recognition and transformation, I felt recognized and transformed. It's fantastic alchemy on Lemberg's part, and their love and labor shines off the page." --Nino Cipri, author of Homesick

"Lemberg's gorgeous prose sets The Four Profound Weaves apart as one of the most beautifully written fantasies of the year." --Locus

"A balm and a call to arms . . . Thoughtful and deeply moving, The Four Profound Weaves is the anti-authoritarian, queer-mystical fairy tale we need right now." --Annalee Newitz, author of The Future of Another Timeline

] A haunting literary fantasy about the fluidity of gender and much else." --Washington Post

"If the plot is the warp of a story, then the weft of this novella is Lemberg's exquisitely crafted, luminescent prose." --Maria Haskins, author of Odin's Eye

"When I finished this novella I cried because it was so joyful and beautiful and moving that for the first time in a long while I caught a glimpse of the path forward." --Jason Sanford, author of Sublimation Angels

"Lusciously detailed world-building and gorgeous language." --Deborah J. Ross, author of Collaborators

"Both ethereal and ephemeral: graceful, delicately wrought, and fleeting." --SYFY Wire

"A brilliantly profound and poignant quest, through haunting desert and intricate city and terrifying dungeon, that's truly about people and change." --Scott H. Andrews, editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies

"For me, the greatest fantasies--the works that I want to reread again and again--both provide a window onto ourselves and our own world and also transcend what we think we know and understand. The works I reread, and want to share, provide moments that open my chest to existence. The Four Profound Weaves does this often." --Strange Horizons

"Remarkable in its truths about the changing nature of life, poetic in its prose, and profound in its understanding of humanity." --SFRA Review

"With elegant prose and an understanding of human nature in all its genders, Lemberg weaves a golden tale of human longing, friendship, and hope." --Traveling in Books

"Modern speculative fiction at its best, exploring important issues through compelling characters, fantastic settings, and exciting stories." --The Fantasy Hive

"Powerful, magical, lyrical, and beautifully original" --Beauty in Ruins

"Theirs is a story of survival and triumph, of redemption and transition, and Lemberg delivers it in a deeply woven, and obviously personal, narrative." --The Novel Approach

"A delightful world, nuanced representation of trans characters and a gorgeous story." --Chain Interaction

"5/5 stars. This will certainly be touted as a queer nonbinary transformational story (and it is that), but it's so much more." --Nonstop Reader

"Lemberg weaves a golden tale of human longing, friendship, and hope."--Traveling in Books

"It is a work that promotes hope and healing, and it is one of those rare books that can be accurately termed deeply wise."--The Temz Review

"A beautiful debut masterpiece of inclusivity and diversity . . . The Four Profound Weaves already has established itself as a queer must-read." --RevUU Magazine

"Lemberg has told with subtlety a delicate tale of hope, change and resistance. It is, without a doubt, one of the finest stories published in 2020."
--Middle Shelf

"The Four Profound Weaves is a beautifully articulated exploration of queer identity and transformation. Lemberg's prose is rhythmic and haunting." --New York Journal of Books
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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

941 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 31% (296)
4 34% (321)
3 22% (208)
2 10% (98)
1 2% (18)
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