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Diane Awerbuck Reviews The Big Stick by Richard de Nooy

The Big StickVerdict: carrot

The Big Stick is Richard De Nooy’s second novel. In it, Alma Nel, bereaved and bewildered battleaxe, journeys from Zeerust to Amsterdam to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of her gay son, Staal.

De Nooy doesn’t think of his work as the product of a particular literary tradition: “I made no conscious effort to place the book within a certain track or frame, although I fully understand that it is likely to be considered within certain traditions and compared to precursors. If anything, I hoped that the book would give straight people – people who might never pick up a book from the “Gay” section of the bookstore – greater insight into various aspects of gay lives, by weaving various issues into a story that readers would find interesting and entertaining … I set out to tell a story, not to write a controversial novel.”

Be that as it may, The Big Stick does deal with some of the concerns specific to queerlit, and Staal’s evolution from mere moffie to twink is the central preoccupation of the book. His sudden and unexpected happiness makes the circumstances of his death all the more poignant.

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