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Eye of a Needle: And Other Stories by Cornelia Fick is a gorgeous collection of short and long stories, each suffused with unique literary elements to entertain readers. The author captures the reality of South Africa in vivid detail, in a voice that is clear and absorbing. In “The Beggar,” the reader meets the “homeless writer” and the circumstances that led him to miss his big dreams and set up a home under the bridge. “Opposites Attract” features great storytelling skills. There are stories of varying lengths, each looking at a fragment of life through the narrator’s eyes, and at times the reader can feel the indictment of the powers that be for the poverty and injustice, or a celebration of love.

This collection features an exciting and delightful blend of flash fiction and longer stories. The shorter ones are tightly written, and the reader feels teased and wanting more once they complete reading each story. The writing itself has many elements of seduction woven into its fabric. The longer stories feature compelling characters, great plots, and well-developed themes. Some of the themes — love, social issues, poverty — are recurrent in several stories. The characters that animate the plot lines are well-imagined, most of them are plucked from ordinary life, and are well-sculpted. What was most fascinating for me was the beautiful and elegant writing. It is clean and polished, laden with vivid and beautiful descriptions. Eye of a Needle: And Other Stories is a gorgeous treat for fans of flash fiction and the short story, and Cornelia Fick comes across as a mistress of the genre.