Delightful and eloquent, Naseem Jamnia’s debut novella THE BRUISING OF QILWA is one of the best books of the year

As the year winds down, Samuel R. Delany Fellowship recipient Naseem Jamnia’s debut novella THE BRUISING OF QILWA continues to collect accolades. Library Journal includes the book among their Best SF/Fantasy of 2022. At Goodreads without comment, Lev Grossman includes the works among Top Fantasy Authors Recommend Books for You. Isaiah Roby for Mi Book Reviews was pleasantly surprised. In Dark Matter Zine, Nalini Haynes enjoyed it, too. Jamnia is interviewed on the Coode Street Podcast. They are part of the faculty for the 2023 Roots. Wounds. Words Winter Writers’ Retreat.

Cover for THE BRUISING OF QILWA by Naseem Jamnia
Cover by Elizabeth Story

This medical fantasy mystery, set amid a tense refugee crisis, features a nonbinary protagonist in a Persian-inspired world. When Firuz’s search for a cure to a terrible disease leads to a healer gone rogue, they must wrestle with their mentor, their conscience, and questions of whether good ends can justify evil means. The delicately interwoven complexity of the story, along with the loving portrait of Firuz and their found family, make this fantasy puzzler a delight.

Library Journal

The characters were complex. The story and the emotions were complex. The way the book ended was perfection. It was messy. It was heartbreaking. It was exactly what I wanted and needed. I didn’t want a hero to ride in. I didn’t want some unredeemable villain. I wanted human, I wanted messy, I wanted real. No one is all good or all evil, despite what so much fantasy shows. Instead everyone has motivations that can make justifiable actions out of horrifying ideas. The ending really sealed how much I loved this book. It was truly the only ending that would do this story justice.

It reminded me of Becky Chambers, Charlie Jane Anders, R.B. Lemberg, and add a little bit of The Doomsday Book in for good measure. It was clearly written exactly for me.

Mi Book Reviews

THE BRUISING OF QILWA is a short eloquent foray into international politics and gender issues entirely focused on the central characters. These characters are engaging and sympathetic. I highly recommend this novella for all readers and especially for high school literature classes and book clubs for meaty challenging discussion.

Dark Matter Zine

Depending on where you are in the world the weather is either turning chilly or it’s becoming warm and sunny, but either way, it’s not long till the end of our Advent Calendar. Today Gary talks to Naseem Jamnia about what they’ve been reading, what they’d recommend, and their exciting new novella, THE BRUISING OF QILWA.

Coode Street Podcast