This is major literature, or, to put it more personally, one of the best novels I can remember reading. Forget "best Flemish" etc.: this is world-class, as revealed by the fact that Boon was shortlisted many times for the Nobel Prize. He has the social awareness and compassion of a Tolstoy or Steinbeck, the literary sophistication of a Kafka or Beckett. You will be dazzled even while you are moved. As one critic said, this has the authority and intensity of a novel written out of psychic necessity, out of passion; Boon was enough of a student of human behavior that everything about his heroine rings true.
The other customer reviews here are all accurate, with one exception: the second volume in this set has by now been translated into English, as "Summer in Termuren," and will be coming out in the summer of 2006. It is reputed to be even better than than this one, though that is hard to imagine. I for one will be standing in line.