When Tom Brodzinksi tries to give up smoking, he inadvertently sets off a chain of events that threaten to upset the tenuous balance of peace in a not-too-distant land. When he flips the butt of his final cigarette off the balcony of his vacation apartment, it lands on elderly Reggie Lincoln, lounging on the balcony below. Lincoln suffers a burn, and the local authorities charge Tom with assault—in a country with draconian anti-smoking laws, a cigarette is a weapon of offense. For reparation, Tom must leave his family behind and wander through the arid center of the country’s deserted territory. Joining Tom on his journey is Brian Prentice, a mysteriously sinister presence, who has his own sins to make up for. Inevitably, the two men encounter violence, forcing them to come together despite their seething mistrust. Refusing facile moral certitudes, The Butt is set in a distorted world, a country that is part Australia, part Iraq, and part the heart of a distinctively modern darkness.