$29.95 inc GST

Product Description


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. Award-winning writer Michael Winkler braids the story of Grim in Australia, meditations on pain, thoughts on masculinity and vulnerability, plus questionable jokes into a highly creative haymaker.


“A fictionalised account of the Italian-American boxer Joe Grim’s 1908 visit to Australia… A book that’s difficult to describe without falling back on cliches like ‘genre-defying’… a compellingly original study of pain, manliness and storytelling.” HOLLY CONNOLLY, AnOther

“courageous, pain-filled and genre-defying book… Grimmish is funny – absurdly, sporadically, intelligently funny… it is Winkler’s attempt to document Grim’s unfathomable life – to indirectly, absorb and transform some of his pain – that allows us, humbly, to see the beauty and validity in all lives, and to better see our own.” OLIVER MOL, Sydney Review of Books

“Michael Winkler’s Grimmish is the best literary clinch you’ll ever read.” ALEX COTHREN, Australian Book Review (paywalled)

Grimmish combines fiction with non-fiction, highbrow allusions with lowbrow humour, and avant-garde gestures with sincere discussions of mental illness and personal failure… Grimmish is probably the most unusual Australian book I will read in 2021, and, without a doubt one of the best.” EMMETT STINSON, Overland Literary Journal

“Grimmish has all the makings of a cult classic. It’s grotesque and gorgeous, smart and searching.” BEEJAY SILCOX, The Guardian

“Joe Grim… is somewhere between a fictional creation and one of those larger-than-life characters you couldn’t make up… Cleverly experimental, this is one out of the box.” STEVE CARROLL AND CAMERON WOODHEAD, The Sydney Morning Herald