In 1939, Louis Seynaeve, a ten-year-old Flemish student, is chiefly occupied with schoolboy adventures and lurid adolescent fantasies. Then the Nazis invade Belgium, and he grows up fast. Bewildered by his family—a stuffy father who welcomes the occupation and a flirtatious mother who works for (and plays with) the Germans—he is seemingly at the center of so much he can't understand. Gradually, as he confronts the horrors of the war and its aftermath, the eccentric and often petty behavior of his colorful relatives and neighbors, and his own inner turmoil, he achieves a degree of maturity—at the cost of deep disillusion. Epic in scope, by turns hilarious and elegiac, The Sorrow of Belgium is the masterwork by one of the world's greatest contemporary authors.