Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Zacht als Staal” as Want to Read:
Zacht als Staal
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Zacht als Staal

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  35 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Een moeder reist van het Zuid-Afrikaanse platteland naar Amsterdam om het lichaam van haar zoon op te halen. Gedreven door plichtsbesef en schuldgevoel onderneemt ze een bizarre zoektocht door een voor haar onbekende wereld om haar zoons leven en dood te reconstrueren.

Bijgestaan door een cokedealende rasta weet ze een bonte stoet vrienden en bekenden te achterhalen – knipn
Paperback, 1, 208 pages
Published 2010 by Nijgh & van Ditmar
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Zacht als Staal, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Zacht als Staal

Community Reviews

Showing 1-50
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  35 ratings  ·  11 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Zacht als Staal
Nerine Dorman
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where do I even begin? This is also going onto my list of top reads for 2013. Very complex thoughts surrounding this novel, which is pertinent whether you are gay or straight.

FULL REVIEW (appeared in September 2013 issue of The Pink Tongue)

It’s not often that a novel lands on my desk that I feel everyone should make an effort to read, but The Big Stick is definitely one of them. Richard de Nooy draws us into Amsterdam of the early 1980s, before the Aids epidemic cast its pall over the various co
Nicolas Chinardet
An enjoyable read with some strong, interesting characters. Although the author is straight he gives a credible insight the gay subculture.

Not being familiar with either South Africa or Amsterdam I felt I missed out on the finer elements of the culture clash depicted in the book which obviously constitutes a major part of it but that didn't distract from the overall enjoyment.

An incredibly broad and colourful canvas for such a short book.
Eddie Clarke
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book - the second I've read in 6 months to look at the SADF's forced 'treatment' of gay conscripts, set around the time I was a conscript in Pretoria. Although De Nooy sensibly keeps this to a brief episode tangentially explored : a ploy which seems to add to its horrific power.

De Nooy's style is energetic and vivacious, and he tells his story via a number of 1st person accounts, so gradually a full picture of Staal and his tragedy emerges. Nevertheless, there are many lighter mom
May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
A humorously sad story. It shows the struggle of a homosexual in a small town in South Africa and the happiness he found at last when he is accepted in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I felt deeply sad while reading the book, shaking my head in sorrow because of the way people treat other people just because they are different or do not want to be the same as everyone else.
Ojon van Strijland
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
het waren andere tijden...
Jayne Bauling
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a brilliant book, one of my best reads so far this year.

Funny and tragic, this is the story of Staal who grew up in Zeerust in South Africa in the 1980s. Being gay in such an environment, he suffered misunderstanding and various abuses, inluding a dose of the SADF's notorious aversion therapy, before being exiled to Holland. Set in Amsterdam around 1986, the book brings the gay scene there to vivid life. Staal's almost immediate sense of having found his pack is deeply touching.

Staal himse
Dec 22, 2011 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
My latest novel is finally available in English in South Africa

You can read an excerpt here.

Readers outside South Africa can order it here (or by sending an email to

I'll be posting the latest reviews here.

Wishing you pleasant reading!

Kerry Gordon
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I loved the collision of cultures and lifestyles as the story weaves through Amsterdam.
What one would expect from Richard: comic wit cloaked in deep tragedy. Or Quentin Tarantino without the guns.
Amanda Strydom
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written. A perfect mix of comic wit and heart-aching tragedy.
Chris Limb
rated it it was amazing
May 15, 2014
Jan Ham
rated it really liked it
May 13, 2020
rated it really liked it
Sep 19, 2011
rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jan 10, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Feb 24, 2020
Raquel Rosa
rated it liked it
Feb 21, 2018
rated it really liked it
Mar 04, 2013
rated it really liked it
Apr 14, 2013
rated it really liked it
Mar 27, 2012
rated it liked it
Aug 29, 2012
rated it it was amazing
May 10, 2015
Peter Abelsen
rated it really liked it
Mar 10, 2013
Aleksander Sumowski
rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2016
rated it really liked it
Oct 24, 2014
rated it liked it
Mar 14, 2020
Paige Nick
rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2011
Jürgen Peeters
rated it did not like it
Nov 17, 2012
rated it really liked it
Mar 25, 2016
Sep 05, 2010 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: dutch
marked it as to-read
Sep 11, 2010
marked it as to-read
Sep 17, 2010
added it
Oct 02, 2010
Craig Smith
marked it as to-read
Nov 24, 2010
added it
Nov 01, 2011
marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2012
added it
Jan 21, 2013
marked it as to-read
Mar 03, 2013
added it
Jun 06, 2013
added it
Sep 22, 2013
Sevenwaves  / (Adi)
marked it as to-read
Oct 09, 2017
marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2017
marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2017
marked it as to-read
Apr 14, 2018
marked it as to-read
May 16, 2018
Jannes Van Ommen
marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2020
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Girl, Woman, Other
  • The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1)
  • Conviction
  • Met bonzend hart: Brieven aan Hella S. Haasse
  • Between You & Me
  • The Hit (Will Robie, #2)
  • Brotherly Love
  • The Sky Is Everywhere
  • Dans van de luipaard
  • The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters, #1)
  • Confettiregen
  • Een oude geschiedenis
  • Grand Hotel Europa
  • Cursed
  • Grand Union: Stories
  • Prends garde au loup
  • Fear of Flying
  • Zur falschen Zeit
See similar books…
Richard de Nooy (1965) grew up in Johannesburg, but has lived in Amsterdam for the past 30 years. He writes his novels in English and Dutch.

His latest novel, Van kleine helden, was published in Dutch in the Netherlands in May 2017. He is currently working on the English edition.

De Nooy's first novel, Six Fang Marks and a Tetanus Shot (Jacana, 2007), won the University of Johannesburg Prize for Bes

News & Interviews

What will you do when it's your turn to pick your book club's next read? Well, this is what you won't do: panic. Why not? Because we've dug...
98 likes · 20 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »