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Chapter One The opening paragraph puts the novel in a nutshell: all the major events and characters

in the life of Marco Stanley Fogg are mentioned, so that the suspense shifts from the what ? to the how ? It was the summer that men first walked on the moon is the opening sentence, the summer being that of 1969. Hoever the second paragraph leads the reader back again to an earlier year: 1965, when Marco moves to New York to study at Columbia University. He quickly briefly sums up th events that take place before he finally (p. 8, l. 46) starts to recount his lifes story from what one might consider to be the beginning his earliest childhood memories. His mother, Emily Fogg, was knocked down by a bus and killed when he was very young, and it was his uncle, Victor Fogg, who brought him up in Chicago. Uncle Victor is a clarinetist who started off by playing in the best orchestras and ended up playing up odd gigs in a small combo. He initiates Marco into the worlds of baseball and of books, stories and films. When Victor marries a widow, Dora Shamsky, Marco has a hard time dealing with the couples rows and spends his last three school years at a boarding school. Finally, Victor sets off on a tour through the West with his new band, the Moon Men, while Marco heads off to New York. Before they part Victor gives Marco 1492 books packed into 76 cartons, which formed the furniture in Marcos apartment. On his first evening in the apartment he notices the Moon Palace sign of the Chinese restaurant and feels that the apartment is filled with meaning as the words Moon remind him of his uncles band, the Moon Men. However, Victors bands soon split up and he ends up selling encyclopedias before dying of a heart failure a devastating blow to Marco who has lost his last link to his family as well as someone he loved. Despite his deteriorating financial situation, Marco continues to study for his college degree and refuses to look for a way out of his financially weak situation. As a way of mourning the death of his uncle, Marco starts to read the books his uncle has left him indiscriminately, thereby acquiring a vast but rather arbitrary literary knowledge, before gradually selling the books off. With his funds reduced to nothing, Marco undergoes a process of physical and spiritual transformation: as his room becomes progressively emptier, Marco gradually disconnects himself from the world (his telephone is disconnected, he stops eating in restaurants), while opening himself to new spiritual spaces. He starts to lose weight. He watches the moon landing, which strikes him as a violation, and the Moon Palace sign, which leads his mind to associate various elements from his life. In a state of total physical exhaustion he tries to contact his only friend, Zimmer, but finds instead a group of young people gathered around a breakfast table. Among them is a girl, Kitty Wu. The two feel strangely attracted to each other. After gorging himself on food, Marco wants to pay back his hosts by recounting journeys to the moon by human beings that had supposedly taken place before the moon landing of 1969. When he is about to leave, Kitty unexpectedly kisses Marco good-bye. Unable to pay his rent any longer, his eviction notice arrives, and finally Marco is forced to leave the apartment and prepare for a life on the streets.