'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.
"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
"The strangest book you are likely to read this year." - JM Coetzee