Brussels. A panorama of tragic heroes, manipulative losers, involuntary accomplices. In his new novel, Robert Menasse spans a narrative arc between the times, the nations, the inevitable and the irony of fate, between petty bureaucracy and big emotions.Fenia Xenapoulou is facing a career setback. She has been "promoted" to the Department of Culture by the Directorate General - no budget, no power, no reputation. So the "Big Jubilee Project" comes just at the right time, to revamp the image of the European Commission. Her Austrian personal assistant Martin Susmann suggests proclaiming Auschwitz as the birthplace of the European Commission. Fenia is thrilled, but she has neglected to take the other European nations into account.Inspector Brunfaut is in a tricky situation too, his murder case has been suppressed at the highest level. Luckily he's friends with the I.T. whizz at the Brussels Police Department, who gains access to the secret files of the public prosecutor's office. Matek, the Polish hitman, knows nothing of this when he makes his escape. But he does know that he shot the wrong guy, and for Matek, who would rather have been ordained a priest, this is serious. And what about the pig farmers who take to the streets of the city with pitchforks to protest about existing trade restrictions that block the export of pigs' ears to China . . .