* In 1907 David and his mother arrive in New York to meet his father who has been there for some time.
* David has never met his father, Albert, before.
* Albert is angry that David's mother, Genya, doesn't recognize her own husband.
Book I: The Cellar
* David is now almost six and lives with his parents in an apartment that has a cellar; David is terrified of the cellar.
* David has a playmate named Yussie, but he has little in common with Yussie and prefers to just watch the other children play.
* Albert gets a job at Dolman's Press and works under a foreman named Joe Luter.
* Luter and Albert become friends, and Luter becomes a regular dinner guest.
* Genya realizes Albert is interested in a relationship with her.
* David senses something is wrong and is uncomfortable with Luter.
* David's mother takes him upstairs to Yussie's apartment where Yussie's...
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