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By Michael Winkler
Categories: Fiction
Paperback : 9781552454664, 224 pages, April 2023
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781770567658, 250 pages, April 2023
Ebook (PDF) : 9781770567665, 250 pages, April 2023
Expected to ship: 2023-04-25
Expected to ship: 2023-04-25
Expected to ship: 2023-04-25


‘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 a talking goat and questionable jokes, in a haymaker of experimental non/fiction.

“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

"A powerful blast of literary ingenuity and originality." – Lloyd Jones, author of Mister Pip

‍“All the makings of a cult classic. It’s grotesque and gorgeous, smart and searching.” – Beejay Silcox, The Guardian



Grimmish is probably the most unusual Australian book I will read in 2021, and, without a doubt, one of the best.” – Emmett Stinson, Overland

“Intriguing…Winkler crafts a compelling impressionistic portrait.”  – Thomas Hauser, The Sweet Science

“Probably the Australian novel of the decade.” – Ben Lindner, Beyond the Zero Podcast

"One of those rare narratives that delights and repulses and hums with such madness and integrity that we wish, at its conclusion, only to return to our desks and to forget all the writing rules we were taught at school" – Oliver Mol, Sydney Review of Books

"A literary provocation" – Daniel Green

“Blazing its own trail of experimental weirdo mindfuckery…the most daring book of (the year).” – Bram Presser

"...recalls W.G. Sebalds's melding of fiction with his personal history, as well as the more exuberant postmodern playfulness of David Foster Wallace or Thomas Pynchon" – Reuben Mackey, Meanjin

"Playful, visceral and elegant. Sat down to read it, lost an afternoon.” – Robbie Arnott

“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.” – Gerg Gerke

“Michael Winkler’s Grimmish is the best literary clinch you’ll ever read.” – Alex Cothren, Australian Book Review

Grimmish will likely be the most interesting Australian book published this year.” – Ben Walter

“Cleverly experimental, this is one out of the box.” – Steven Carroll, The Sunday Morning Tribune

"At times, the effect of this wonderful little book is not unlike being punched in the face by one of the boxers its story chronicles -- a reading experience that can leave you dizzy, disoriented, and constantly in delighted anticipated of what may come next. An 'exploded non-fiction' novel that takes as its starting point a historical figure, but around that persona entwines a fantastical, strange, and at times borderline-hilarious tale of pain, masculinity, and the occasional talking goat. This book kept me on my toes throughout." – Bryan Seitz, Literati Bookstore