Praise for R. B. Lemberg’s recently released lyrical and complex debut THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES explodes all over the Internet.
At MS. MAGAZINE, Karla Strand showcases the book among their September 2020 Reads for the Rest of Us.
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.
Margaret Kingsbury for BUZZFEED NEWS expresses similar sentiments in 18 Excellent Fantasy Books Coming Out This Fall.
THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES is a lyrical and complex novella set in Lemberg’s Birdverse Universe. Lemberg has previously written short stories set in this world, but this is their first longer work.
NERDS OF A FEATHER, FLOCK TOGETHER wholeheartedly recommends the novella.
If you’ve not experienced Lemberg’s prose before, you’re in for a treat with this, as the style brings the meditative story of nen sasaïr and Uiziya to life in a way that’s readable and yet really makes the most of the rich fable-like qualities of the story being told. I can wholeheartedly recommend this novella and this series as one that’s well worth spending time in, packing fascinating, complex worldbuilding and a thoughtful engagement with queer identities into a deceptively short package. I look forward to further adventures in the Birdverse soon!
THE CLIPPED NIGHTINGALE agrees.
It amazes me how the author takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of the emotional, physical and intellectual journey of the two protagonists. The magic, spells, musings, dark powers and magical carpets.. everything felt so real and authentic. A must read. The book is out now.
QUICK SIP REVIEWS interviews Lemberg.
QSR: I love the way that art works into THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES, especially because, well, the story is a piece of art itself! How do you feel art and the act of creating it fits into these moments of resistance, revolution, and recovery?
RBL: I often think that making art is the most resilient human impulse. It’s not that art is indestructible – far from it – but the need to make art, to share it, to find meaning and joy and hope in it, is universal. Even the villain of my story loves art – just not the artists that produce it. And that, for me, is what separates the villains from the rest of us. I do not believe that art can have a separate existence from the artist, I do not believe that art can or should be “sanitized” for elite consumption by forgetting or hiding where it comes from – from people, from communities, from relationships, from emotions, from lifetimes of learning and striving. In moments of great turmoil we turn to art – both to the art that exists already, to the memory of art, and, perhaps most importantly, to the making of new art – to carry us through, to tell the stories that shape our lives, to make meaning out of suffering, grief, and joy. In my book, the maker – who is in her sixties, but who only now is coming to the true mastery of her craft – makes meaning from long-silenced voices. She does not create the voices, but her art helps them to be heard. Art can continue to exist long after the artists themselves become anonymous, but its makers continue to speak to us.
Lemberg participated in a REDDIT r/Books AMA.
Can you talk some about the geography of Birdverse? Have you drawn a map of it that you reference? How many deserts are there, and which is your favorite? 😛 I’ve noticed characters talk about “the landmass,” which I found interesting!
rblemberg AMA Author
Great question! Yes, there’s a large “landmass” where most of the events of my stories take place. I actually love fantasy maps, and have drawn a few in my day. When I just started envisioning Birdverse, I drew a crude map of what I now know as “the countries of the central north” to orient myself. Then I began to write a story about a siltway person (first Birdverse story, unpublished and that’s mostly good, it was not ready). In any case, the siltway people do not view geography the same way nameway and dreamway people do – they do not orient the same way in space, travel by the means of “flickering” and do not have any verbs in their language. Envisioning this person’s journey into the more familiar parts of Birdverse, I found out that I did not want to imagine a more precise geography – rather, it would be an imagined geography, which is an academic concept talking about how space is constructed and imagined through narratives, images, songs and the like. I do wonder if a time will come for a more standard fantasy map, but not yet.