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The City of Woven Streets

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,655 ratings  ·  266 reviews

'Where itaranta shines is in her understated but compelling characters' Red star review (for MEMORY OF WATER), Publishers Weekly.

Emmi Itäranta’s prose combines the lyricism of Ishiguro’s NEVER LET ME GO. This is her second novel, following the award-winning MEMORY OF WATER.

The tapestry of life may be more fragile than it seems: pull one thread, and all will unravel.

In the

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published June 2nd 2016 by Harper Voyager (first published October 15th 2015)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
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 ·  1,655 ratings  ·  266 reviews

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Amalia Gavea
''This night is different. Sleep is thin in the house, because strange blood is drying on the stones of the square.''

What is left when even the ability to dream (literally) is considered a crime? And even worse, when your dreams are nightmares for which you may be punished severely? You are marked by society, exiled to the House of the Tainted, the left-overs of the community.

I tend to approach every book that wishes to belong to the Dystopian genre with extreme cautiousness. First of all, w
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
♥ Huh huh, siis huh huh!

Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am probably too tired to write a coherent review, having travelled across Europe by train for twelve hours after five hours sleep. Nonetheless, I’ll give it the old college try. I enjoyed ‘The City of Woven Streets’ more than Itaranta’s previous novel Memory of Water, which I liked but found frustrating. Her latest has more of a fantasy atmosphere, whereas her previous was explicitly post-climate catastrophe science fiction. ‘The City of Woven Streets’ is also arguably sci-fi, but set in a dis ...more
Renee Godding
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 to 4.5 stars

In all honesty, I felt a little lost during first 75 pages, but once I got into the story I adored this. This is not a perfect book, but Emmi Itäranta's gorgeous writingstyle, beautifully vivid worldbuilding and original story made this a fantastic experience for me.
I'm going to let this sink in properly, but will definitely write a more indepth review soon...

Alja (alyaofwinterfell)
3.5 stars

I'm so happy that I gave this book a chance!

It's a Finnish fantasy/dystopian novel about an island slowly sinking into the sea, and features a beautifully understated romance between two girls, each carrying their own secrets and burdens.
I don't want to say too much about the plot and the characters at this point because I don't want to give away too much information - it's best if you go and discover it by yourself!

The atmosphere that Itäranta paints is dreamy and at times eerie. The w
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
An atmospheric fantasy that serves up a frustration of characters and world-building.

Eliana is a young weaver in the House of Weavers, one of several craft houses on an island where dreaming is forbidden. Eliana can dream though, which makes her incredibly nervous when a voiceless young woman turns up at the House with a tattoo of Eliana's name on her hand.

It's difficult to say more about this, because Eliana is so sheltered and passive she doesn't know much more than that. She has no idea what
Kaoru Takarai
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's strange how books choose you. I recently spent some days in Finland -which had been my dream for years. From day one, I was looking for some beautiful Finnish literature to take home with me when the time came to go back. And from day one I couldn't find any bookstores that had a separate space for Finnish literature translated into English. Then, the day after my birthday, I was in Turku and it was really cold, and I started going into malls and shops just to avoid the outside weather. The ...more
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
An enchanting tale of love and resistance. Unexpectedly tender and heartfelt, the story swept me away. Itaranta has crafted a world of intrigue that both defies and embraces the many dystopian tropes, weaving a story with a pattern quite unlike any other.

“The world is ready to drown. The world is ready to rise.”

The synopsis describes the plot in barren terms. The protagonist Eliana is a young weaver in The House of Webs where a spider-like Goddess is worshiped, and she does meet a mysterious yo
I wanted to love this book, so much. And there were a lot of things in it that I loved - the descriptions of the island, the exquisite language, the main character. But then there were things that I did not love - the overall plot, the ending, how it felt like the story is stuck in place. It took me a long time to get into the story, for it to get going at all, and once it finally did, it felt like it ended all too abruptly with very little explanation. Mostly I was left with the feeling that I ...more
Eclectisism Incarnate
Emmi Itäranta creates such wonderful worlds, and places a female hero front and center. First in Memory of Water, and now in this.

Eliana doesn't waste time with irrelevant worries. She's got plenty of all too relevant ones to worry about.

I am rather in readerly love with Itärata's style. It's consistent, and creative. She has a way of portraying a horrible reality, but having a thread of bright hope run throughout. (view spoiler)
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, finnish
Emmi Itäranta has mastered the craft of writing brilliant, jaw-droppingly beautiful language that flows like water. In addition she possesses an imagination that takes the reader to a new, but still recognisable fantasy world. The end result is a text that is at the same time both ethereal and immensely powerful.

The City of Woven Streets is Itäranta's second novel and follows the footsteps of The Memory of Water, which featured similar themes of overpowering regime, natural disasters, environme
Tami Bussing
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually read the English version 'The Weaver', by Finnish auther Emmi Itaranta (just her second book), which I didn't find in Goodread's database. It's a wonderfully written fantasy tale of innocence, discrimination, political corruption and societal secrecy from the view of a coming-of-age young woman. I definitely look forward to reading more from her!
Mikaela Garcia
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like how people's dreams can cost their own actions and how a weaver can make it be better. I like Emmi Itäranta's way to build the world and the way she writes. She has good imaging.
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emmi Itäranta's sophomore novel once again invites the reader to a dystopic world in which water has an important role. However, this time the limits of the world is set in a different fashion than in the debut novel Memory of Water as this time the setting is not defined by the lack of water, but by its abundance.

Eliana has lived her whole life on an island from which only traders and dignitaries ever venture further. Through her narration the reader is slowly introduced to a young woman who ap
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dare I say it? Classic Itäranta. Love it.

Intriguing world building, iresistible women, striking imagery that slows you down while reading (and perhaps gets a little lost in 'translation' every now and then?), dystopian elements that are thought-provoking and plain unsettling in equal measures, (subtle) treatment of environmental issues, an ending that makes you want to punch something - and, upon finishing the novel, a feeling of not being satisfied.

Highly recommended!
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Writes like Atwood, includes LGBTI topics more naturally than Winterson. Well worth a read.
Nov 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very hard to rate this book... slow but dreamy. Slow but poetic. A bit of a disappointment after her first book but glad I read it.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would prepare those readers expecting the stark, post-apocalyptic reality from Memory of Water; The Weaver is much more fantastical, mythical, dream-like. Its story a little denser, a little unfocused.

I loved the use of water in The Weaver -- in this case it is something to be feared, the potential ender of life instead of the giver as in Memory. I loved that Eliana had brown skin (view spoiler)
The bones of a standard YA dystopia fleshed out with dream-like prose, eerie worldbuilding, and hints of magical realism. There are individual scenes here that will stick in my mind for a long time, like the twisting amber tunnels and the blood coral lurking under water, just out of reach. I also appreciated the slow-burn, matter-of-fact lesbian romance.

The overarching plot, though, is frustratingly pedestrian, all the more so because the protagonist has almost no connection to it. For most of
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Firstly: it was really refreshing to read something in Finnish! Sometimes I feel like I forget all the nice words and structures my native language has, and then I read something beautiful like this and fall in love with the language again.

Kudottujen kujien kaupunki was great. Itäranta writes in an almost poetic way, that carries the reader like a river. The whole book was really atmospheric, and I totally fell in love with the characters (I ship Eliana and Valeria so hard). The world was fascin
The Book
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate enough to pick up The Weaver (entitled "The City of Woven Streets" in the UK) at a time when I was almost prepared to give up on fantasy as a genre. After a disappointing succession of would-be Game-of-Thrones novels with a lack of compelling plots or characters, I was starting to think there was nothing left to read. Suffice to say, I was wrong.

The Weaver introduces us to Eliana, a weaver of cloth on a Fantasy island, where everyone is defined by their role in society, given as

The City of Woven Streets is a fantasy/dystopian story that does not explain itself much and can be confusing most of the time - much like a dream. And is this dreamy vibe that makes this novel beautiful.

The plot is slow - this story is undeniable character and prose driven. We get to witness a beautiful romance between two girls blossom; a subtle but strong brother-sister relationship; and friendships on many levels. The prose is rich and captivating, although, again, can be too confusing a
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it

Interesting book. I picked it up randomly at my library not having ever heard of it, and it a decent read. The writing I found great, yet the overall story was a tad... splotchy. I feel like it would have been better had more gaps been filled in; as it stands I feel like not enough was explained over the novel. Still, it's different so I'd recommend giving it a shot.
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading is such a powerful tool to have. The concept of this story really got me excited. I picked it up ready to settle in for a good read. The beginning did start out good. Yet, it quickly became apparent to me that my joy was disappearing fast. The story moved slowly without a lot of details about the world that Eliana existed in or why her talents were so precious. In fact, after reading about a third of the way I put the book down for good. Yet, despite my lack of joy, I decided to come bac ...more
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-finnish
Excellent read, I liked it even more than Teemestarin Kirja (The Memory of Water). Beautiful language, interesting setting, the story flowed well. Bonus points for diversity in a fantasy world and especially lesbian love that wasn't an issue for anyone.
The final parts happened very quickly, it wouldn't have hurt to use a few more pages on it.
Rating: 5 stars

Review posted at Fantasy Literature.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderfully haunting story, where the writing is a quiet as the secrets it unfolds.
The Captain
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahoy there me mateys! After I read this Finnish author’s debut novel, memory of water, I knew I had to read her next book when it came out. And while I enjoyed her first novel more, there was a lot to be enjoyed in this one as well.

The world building in this novel was wonderful. The story takes place on an island where everything is deeply regimented. One of the main rules is that dreaming is not allowed. It is treated like the plague and if discovered to be a Dreamer then the person is thrown i
Suzanne Rooyen
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars : I liked the style and overall vibe of this book a lot, I just never really felt like I truly understood how the world worked :/
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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Nordic Book Club: February 2017 - The Weaver 3 31 Mar 01, 2017 10:19AM  

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