‘I just don’t believe that man is made of flesh and blood.’ - Jack Johnson, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Pain was Joe Grim’s self-expression, his livelihood and reason for being. In 1908-09 the Italian-American boxer toured Australia, losing fights but amazing crowds with his showmanship and extraordinary physical resilience. On the east coast Grim played a supporting role in the Jack Johnson-Tommy Burns Fight of the Century; on the west coast he was committed to an insane asylum. In between he played with the concept and reality of pain in a shocking manner not witnessed before or since.

Michael Winkler braids the story of Grim in Australia and meditations on pain with thoughts on masculinity and vulnerability, plus questionable jokes, in a haymaker of experimental non-fiction.

JM Coetzee: “The strangest book you are likely to read this year.”

Emmett Stinson, Overland:Grimmish is probably the most unusual Australian book I will read in 2021, and, without a doubt one of the best.”
Beejay Silcox: “All the makings of a cult classic. It’s grotesque and gorgeous, smart and searching.”
Thomas Hauser: “Intriguing…Winkler crafts a compelling impressionistic portrait.”
Ben Lindner, Beyond the Zero podcast: “Probably the Australian novel of the decade.”

Bram Presser:
“Blazing its own trail of experimental weirdo mindfuckery…the most daring book of (the year).”
Robbie Arnott:
“Playful, visceral and elegant. Sat down to read it, lost an afternoon.”

Greg Gerke: “A novel that takes chances, that animates a hazily documented life and bleeds it into a strange music called fiction. It’s Stein, Gass, McCarthy, and Pynchon rolled into one exquisite cannoli.”
Alex Cothren, ABR: “Michael Winkler’s Grimmish is the best literary clinch you’ll ever read.”
Ben Walter: “Grimmish will likely be the most interesting Australian book published this year.”

Jock Serong: “What a gem this is: funny, sad and fascinating – but more than anything else, the writing is superb. I hit the back cover at speed and nearly went clean through it.”

Steven Carroll, The Age: “Cleverly experimental, this is one out of the box.”
Akin Akinwumi: “Great writing.”

Murray Bail:
“I laughed aloud.”

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