Grimmish
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Grimmish

Michael Winkler

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.

‘The strangest book you are likely to read this year.’ - JM Coetzee

Grimmish meets a need I didn’t even know I had. I lurched between bursts of wild laughter, shudders of horror, and gasps of awe at Winkler’s verbal command: the freshness and muscle of his verbs, the unstoppable flow of his images, the bizarre wit of the language of pugilism-and all the while, a moving subterranean glint of strange masculine tenderness.’ - Helen Garner

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