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Eye of a Needle: And other stories Paperback – January 4, 2017
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- 'The golden thread weaving throughout the collection - from the tragic to the humorous to the poignant to the unjust - is Connie's extraordinarily keen insight into human nature in all its guises.' tweditorial.co.uk/editorial-suite/new-release-eye-of-a-needle-and-other-stories.
- 'This here is an exhibition of artistry, an unforced arrangement of words to effect music; there is thought-provocation, and there is fun, altogether marvellously interlaced to transmute, to stir, to shake.' Maruping Phepheng, author of What Happens In Hankaroo..., Of Anger andRevenge, Tlhokaina and Nightfall.
- 'In all the stories, the author displays the unmistakable skill of observation and that is what makes Eye of the needle a magnificent read.' Maserame June Madingwane, author of The naming of Kea.
- Many of my favourite stories in Eye of a Needle are absorbing narratives - often about marriages - which begin conventionally and then unravel into something else. "One day she awoke and he was inside her body and her mind, filling eighty percent with his presence, edging her out. The weight of him changed her posture." ('Knit One') Jo-Ann Goodreads goodreads.com/user/show/58579195-jo-ann
- Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite. 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. ttps://readersfavorite.com/book-review/eye-of-a-needle
About the Author
Cornelia Fick, also known as Colleen Lynn, is a South African writer. She recently completed the MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes University. A nurse by profession, she worked for a number of years as editor of a primary health care magazine, and as a freelance writer for Takalani Sesame (radio and TV). Her poems and short stories are published in local and international literary magazines and anthologies: Itch, Botsotso, Soho Square V (Bloomsbury), Experimental Writing Volume 1, Africa VS Latin America, Ladyboxbooks.com and Atlanta Review. She lives in Johannesburg with her family and two dogs.
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In evolution, behavior is repeated, but in this process of iteration and reiteration, small changes occur, and when provoked by threats, adjustments move in a certain direction, until they reach a tipping point. Social evolution is slow as well. Although we envision a common goal, each person involved has her own point of view and experiences, which are difficult to communicate and may seem unshareable. Bringing these diverse views and experiences to the point of developing a community of action, finally, takes an act of will. Domestic abuse and sexual assault have held sway a long time, unbrooked, unspoken, and supported by social norms. The characters in these stories are working against the gravity of history and social expectations. Each one, though, makes a small and conscious choice that pushes back against un-freedom. Some of them, I thought, would not survive their violent circumstances. But they had made that first, tiny, unnoticeable adjustment which is in fact rebellion. I would have liked, though, to have read about one of these characters whose transformation had reached the tipping point.
The stories are filled with scenes that were almost tangible: taste, touch, smell, sight, and emotions conveyed sharply. In some cases description was so lush I felt a bit smothered. However, Flick writes with a harshness and floridity that suits her subjects. Other stories ended with what I suspect were meant to be ironic surprises, but several of these eluded me. That may have come from too much contrivance. Other times I felt I was reading a social worker’s case history. I thought the best story in the book, Care Plan, was written with spare, impersonal language, the kind that modern health caregivers and their companion bureaucrats excel in; instead of benignly considerate, this language emerges as darkly humorous, easily manipulated by a person with bad intent. In this “case,” the ending really worked. All in all, Eye of a Needle is a mixed bag of stories interwoven with themes of alienation, rebellion, awakening, and courage.
In addition, use of local dialect lends authenticity to the characters, though a reader not familiar with South African languages and dialects might feel left out. Nonetheless, themes are universal and stories carry a powerful message a reader can identify with.
I also agree, “literary fiction is a hard genre to crack” but the author has succeeded in using a strong and distinct voice in a fresh way. The experimental structure works well and keeps the reader engaged.
However, I cannot ignore text format issues that sort of take away the pleasurable reading experience. An impatient reader might be frustrated and give up, which would be a shame as stories themselves are enriching. And that’s the only reason I’m not giving this book a five-star.
When I read a book, there either comes a time when I'm hooked or I'm out. The very first story I was hooked. I wanted more. This is a book that makes you think, makes you feel, broadens your view of the world.
Having seen only the South Africa of the wealthy, this was what I wanted, the true people of South Africa, with all of it's bad and good.
The author's keen observations on women and humanity are written in a subtle form, but carry a big message. To me there is no better read than the one that entertains (the reading), and teaches me something. There were a lot of laughs and some tears. You know it's good when you are still thinking about it the next day.