‘Talent’ by Niven Govinden

I know it’s tiny. I know that Niven Govinden is a tour de force of a novelist, voguing and slaying with every friggin’ long-form sentence. But this story, though. Given how much more he has done since this small slice of struttin’ perfection was published, I’d understand him being affronted that I chose this. But the criteria here is what stays with me, and this series of sentences from a gloriously fat Lancashire lass on the pole – Gypsy Rose Lee of Blackburn! – echoes, especially when as a fat woman, I feel less than fabulous. Flash fiction is a true skill, and Govinden’s ability to create multidimensional character, a world that convinces and bounces and glitters, to eviscerate limited ideas of female beauty, and to fashion a whole damn plot in just over 350 words has me bowing down every time. Some work exists to help mend our broken hearts and this is one of them.

First published in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Volume 2, No. 2, October 2009. Read it online here

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