An innocuous disturbance leads to a series of grotesque calamities in a Belgian town.
The innocuous disturbance is the sound of a wind farm's turbines, which prevents the town butcher from sleeping at night. That's it. That's the impetus for a story that leads to charges of indecent exposure, assault, murder, animal poisoning, attempted rape, and several graphically described bouts of diarrhea. The sleep-deprived butcher is the means by which the book proceeds along its escalating course of outrages. Along the way the novel takes care to detail the surliest, most suspicious, sadistic, or racist thoughts of the inhabitants. It's not that these are people whose flaws inadvertently draw them to disaster. Many of them are awful to begin with, and even the marginally sympathetic, or at least unobjectionable ones, are held at such a distance that no emotion is expended on them. This is the type of book that, as soon as a dog is introduced, you wait for it to be horribly killed. The narrative concern is not so much with, say, a person being killed as it is with the person's head exploding in blood and bone matter.
The tension the book produces is not so much what's going to happen as how much you are going to have to go through before reaching the end.