The main character of the novel, Basil March, is a neutral character by whose viewpoint the reader sees most of the story. He resides in Boston with his wife and children. They are persuaded by March's idealistic friend Fulkerson to move to New York to start a new magazine, where the writers benefit in a primitive form of profit sharing. After some deliberation, the Marches move to New York and begin a rather extensive search for a perfect apartment. After many exhausting weeks of searching, Basil finally settles for an apartment.