“Tapestry” is, plain and simple, one of the best pieces of web writing out there. It uses the medium better than almost anyone—in fact, I can’t think of anyone who uses the episodic nature of the web serial as well—and Weaver’s dedication to tone and character in this diary of Suki—Lady Uru— is flawless.
What happens in this serial? Nothing. Everything.
Weaver paints a thorough portrait from the inside out of a society reminiscent of both Victorian England and Heian Japan—secretly decadent, fastidious, arrogant, elegant, mannered to the point of ridiculousness if it weren’t so deadly to breach protocol, or even to appear to approach the breaching of protocol. For those who understand the personal is political, that it is through the daily lives of people that history (including story) is best observed rather than through the sweeping actions of a few Great Men, “Tapestry” will become a must-read. —Meilin Miranda
Beautifully Paced, Characterized, and Described
This is the first piece of webfiction that really wowed me. Wysteria handles all elements of the story incredibly deftly. I love the everyday but uncluttered pace, the realistic character portrayals and interactions, and the touch of physical description that gives the surroundings life without pointing to any one Asian (perhaps my own assumption) culture. I love all the rare, delicious cultural tidbits that pop up (especially around festivals), and how I have to make my own connections and be content being left somewhat in the dark. After all, Suki has no reason to explain to herself what she already knows. I find this story both gripping and gently flowing. The author seems both talented and polished, and entirely unpretentious about it.
Suki is neither a Mary Sue, nor an anti-hero. She’s classist, sexist, heterosexist, racist, ageist, and probably a bunch of other -ists, and utterly sympathetic. She’s human, and building her life in the ways she has been taught and the ways circumstances provide her. She is very much a product of civilization. Sometimes I question her ability to write down past conversations in such precise detail, but I can suspend my disbelief in that I can believe that someone in her social role would need those kinds of skills to survive in the political climate of her empire.
I just got to book two, and it feels different. But it is different, and as much as I think wistfully of the flavor of the first book, I think the difference in feeling serves the story. So the second book is different than what I first loved, but it is worthy and intriguing and exciting all itself. —M.E. Traylor
I remember reading the first few entries of this story mainly out of curiosity, to see what it was all about. Very quickly, however, I found myself compulsively clicking on the ‘next’ button, until I had to physically shut off and go away from the computer because evening had disappeared into night, it had gotten far too late, and I needed to get at least a few hours of sleep before work the next day.
It’s not often that I find a story that compels me to read it enough that I miss out on my sleep, but there’s just something about this one that keeps me addictively reading and turning to the next chapter. On the face of it, I would think there’s nothing really to draw me to it; the story of a noble woman (Suki) and her two children (and occasionally her husband, home from military campaigns) and the various things they go through on a day-to-day basis isn’t the type of thing that usually interests me. However, I think the thing that began interesting me and finally kept me compulsively reading and turning pages was the way the author skillfully unwraps Suki’s world. On the face of it, the story is that of a noble woman as written in her daily journal. In reality, as we read on, we get to see the intimate details of the things that are initially presented to us in broad strokes. We find out that Suki’s daughter, who as she nears thirteen is getting close to the time when a husband will be selected for her, really wants to devote her life to painting instead. We get to read about her son, who becomes best friends with a loyal slave. As Suki gets into her journaling, she goes from describing the world around her in very formal terms to almost using her journal as one would a confidant, revealing her secret thoughts and the underlying meanings of things around her in ways she would never do in real life, not even to her husband or close friends.
In short, it’s a fascinating portrait of life in her time and place, as well as the type of life story of a person in which you can see her changing before your very eyes. Attitudes she used to keep sometimes melt away in the face of new information or close contact with people she previously never knew, and new knowledge and actions take their place. At any rate, even though the updates for this story are listed as sporadic (to my sorrow), I definitely recommend this story to anyone who likes alternate universe historical fiction or stories written in a diary format. Even if the premise doesn’t sound like something you’d like on the face of it, I recommend you check it out anyway; I’m certainly glad I did. —Palladian