As 2020 ends, R. B. Lemberg’s unique THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES continues to garner accolades.
For BOOK RIOT, Margaret Kingsbury includes the book in 10 Under-the-Radar Fantasy and Science Fiction Books From 2020.
This lyrical novella is Lemberg’s first longer work, though they’ve previously published short stories in the Birdverse Universe where THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES takes place.
A. C. Wise places the novella among My Favorite Books of 2020.
The prose is poetic, and the worldbuilding rich and immersive. The fact that the story centers on two grandparents taking on an epic journey filled with magic and danger sets it apart from other quest stories, and highlights one of the novella’s central themes – to be alive is to be constantly in the act of becoming, and one’s self is not a finite, but a thing that constantly evolves and grows.
I actually had the deep joy of talking to the author about this book at the Argo Bookstore’s Trans and Non-binary book club this month. If you want to read about trans elders (!!!) in a fairy tale, grab this book.
Sessily Watt at STRANGE HORIZONS lauds the novella.
THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES, by R. B. Lemberg, is beautiful and painful, often both at once. Lemberg writes with clarity about the harms done in the name of power and in the name of love. They write, too, about hope; an active hope that cannot erase the harms done for power or love, but that can find a life beyond that harm.
The novel dances, shaking stories out into the world, obscuring for a moment the sun. And then—at just the right moment and yet too soon—the story ends, and you are returned to yourself.
On their eponymous site, Gabrielle Bleu enjoys the work.
When I was eight or nine I was really into the book Watership Down, to the point that as soon as I finished the book, I would immediately flip back to the beginning and start reading it again. I haven’t felt that way about a book until THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES.
I loved the pacing and the shape of the narrative arc. The story walks along with you, instead of rushing or pushing at you. The dead speak, and you must listen, and it will be frightening, but you will move forward.
James Nicoll praises both Lemberg and THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES.
This is Lemberg’s debut book, but their setting is not new. They have been publishing short works set in the Birdverse for years. Either the author believes most of their readers will have sought them out after reading the short works or they have a John M. Ford level of confidence in the reader’s ability to deduce the world from clues here and there. Well, it’s a nice change from books where the author endlessly explains setting and backstories.
Effectively written, although no doubt playing to themes to which I am blind, This was an intriguing introduction to Lemberg’s work.