A Needle and a Thimble رواية إبْرة وكُشْتُبان

It’s stunning, violent, & too close to the reality of our times. It is one that invites reflection & an open mind. A mighty success.


My latest novel, a fictional story in an alternative universe where society evolves to divide people per height rather than sex. In this society, people are either talls and shorts. Identities form per the person’s height, and social roles are divided and distributed accordingly. Middle-height people are rejected. They are hidden to serve this idealistic view of two types of people. The story follows a love story between the short dressmaker and middle-height Tallsy.

تدور أحداث الرواية في مجتمع خيالي يكون فيه التقسيم النوعي الأساسي للبشر حسب طول قامتهم. في هذا العالم تتشكل هوية الفرد وتتوزع الصفات والأدوار الاجتماعية حسب طول القامة. تدور أحداث الرواية حول قصة حب تجمع بين الخياطة قصيرة القامة وطولان متوسّط الطول المنبوذ اجتماعيّاً.

غلاف إبرة وكشتبان – Arabic book cover of A Needle and a Thimble
الأكثر مبيعاً في مكتبة فيرجن في عمان – فبراير 2021 – A top best seller at Virgin Megastore in Amman – Feb 2021

The novel is thought provoking as it introduces gender related issues in a clever innovative and visionary setting. 

Daughters of Ever Club


When a dress-maker opens the doors for Tallsy during a rainy night, she is surprised and intrigued by what her eyes meets. A socially outcast for his middle height, Tallsy seeks the dress-maker to design a gown for him so that he looks taller and eligible to attend a family wedding. At first glance, he looks tall enough to her. He looks like the talls. He has a bold head like the talls. And he has the vertical henna line on his forehead, like any other single tall. The dress-maker gets the shock of her life when he enters her house and removes his shoes. His middle height condition becomes apparent. To her surprise, that attracts her like she never experienced before. During the nights of them working on the dress, a romantic relationship between the two develops. She becomes eager to help him. 

Meanwhile, the dress-maker assistant Rocky, holds a traditional views about relationships and social roles. She warns her against getting involved in a relationship with someone who is evil spirited. She vows to stop her whatever it takes. 

Palmo, joins the dress-maker team. A young tall talkative individual who is passionate about social equality. Holding his own secret, Palmo’s situation becomes critical when his tall partner Flago gets pregnant, exposing a forbidden relationship between two talls. In order to save Palmo and Flago from this life threatening situation, the dress-maker comes up with a solution. She plots with Tallsy to make him look shorter to be eligible to propose to Flago. As a short, Tallsy will be able to marry Flago, and have her living with them at the dress-maker house. Under this special arrangement, the dress-maker and Tallsy can live their secret relations, and have Palmo and Flago living theirs. For Tallsy to become a short, he will have to gain some weight, become bulkier, grow his hair, and replace his henna vertical line on his forehead to a horizontal one. 

Turret, Tallsy’s childhood friend, visits the dress-maker house, and she freaks out when she sees Tallsy’s figure change to look like a shorty. She has a height issues herself. Her height never grew that of a short person but she has always felt herself to be a tall. She refuses to gain weight like any other short. She refuses to grow hair on her head like other shorts. And she refuses to act tough or wear green dresses like the shorts. She fits very well with the group. 

During that time, Rocky becomes agitated by the attitude of one of her partners. She is suspicious of her partner infidelity. Her jealousy drives her to commit a crime of passion, pushing the talls and their alleys to take on the streets and revolt, demanding for more justice. The revolution is met with brutality from the shorts, making things worse to everyone

With her growing  love to Tallsy, and her growing fond of Palmo, Flago and Turret, the dress-maker becomes aware of the injustices society inflicts on people who don’t conform to the societal boundaries of height. She starts to imagine a different world where people are divided per sex. She wants this imagined world to be more fair to her lover Tallsy. As a male, she gives him advantages in her imagined world. She redistributes social roles and appearances in this world based on its people’s sex. And she creates a new language for this world, which is not based on height. A language that has a pronoun specific for her lover –HE. 

She tells us the story using this new language – in English.

Published by Dal Al Ahleyya in January 2021. It was a best seller in several bookshops in Amman when it was first released. It has been widely well received.

Ebra wa Kushtuban is the first audio book to be released by pioneering regional podcasts content production company Sowt. It was released under Safahat Sowt platform. Narrated by Jordanian talented actress Lana Nasser.


An excerpt from the novel, in English, published at Arablit blog:

An Excerpt of Fadi Zaghmout’s Speculative Novel ‘A Needle and a Thimble’


A review by Daughters of Eve Book Club:

A review by Bookfabulous:

For translation rights, please contact me directly: fadizaghmout@yahoo.com

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