by Michael Winkler
published 4 May 2023
Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award
Pain was Joe Grim's self-expression, his livelihood and reason for being. A superstar boxer who rarely won a fight, Grim distinguished himself for his extraordinary ability to withstand physical punishment.
In this wild and expansive novel, Michael Winkler moves between the present day and Grim's 1908–09 tour of Australia, bending genres and histories into a kaleidoscopic investigation of pain, masculinity, and narrative.
Pain is often said to defy the limits of language. And yet Grimmish suggests that pain – physical and mental – is also the most familiar and universal human condition; and, perhaps, the secret source of our impulse to tell stories.
Praise for Grimmish
'A powerful blast of literary ingenuity and originality.' – Lloyd Jones
'I lurched between fits of wild laughter, shudders of horror, and gasps of awe at Winkler's verbal command: the freshness and muscle of his verbs, the unstoppable slow of his images, the bizarre with of the language of pugilism – and all the while, a moving subterranean glint of strange masculine tenderness.' – Helen Garner
'All the makings of a cult classic. It's grotesque and gorgeous, smart and searching.' – The Guardian