What is a summary of Paul Auster's Moon Palace?

Paul Auster's Moon Palace is the story of Marco Fogg, an orphan who falls on hard times and then ends up working for a man who turns out to be both a famous painter and his grandfather.

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The narrator of Moon Palace by Paul Auster is a man by the name of Marco Stanley Fogg. He is writing about events from his life as much as twenty years after they happened. He begins at the beginning, filling us in about details from his upbringing. His mother died...

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The narrator of Moon Palace by Paul Auster is a man by the name of Marco Stanley Fogg. He is writing about events from his life as much as twenty years after they happened. He begins at the beginning, filling us in about details from his upbringing. His mother died when he was only a boy, and he never knew his father. Marco was raised by his Uncle Victor, who sadly passed away when Marco was in college.

Marco soon falls on hard times. Running out of money, he loses his apartment and ends up living in Central Park, New York. Thankfully, his life is saved by the good graces of his former roommate Zimmer and a young woman called Kitty Wu, who becomes his lover. Marco goes to live with Zimmer and is soon able to get his life back on track. Even so, he's not completely recovered, and his physical and mental exhaustion render him unfit for military service in Vietnam.

Marco finds employment caring for an old man in a wheelchair called Thomas Effing. Effing wants Marco to write his obituary for him, and to that end proceeds to tell him his life story. His real name is Julius Barber, and back in the day, he was a famous painter. Unfortunately, things turned sour for him, and by a strange combination of events, he ended up living in a cave out West.

It was here that he lived and painted for a while. During his stay in the cave, he killed three criminals who had murdered the former inhabitant of the cave. He stole their money and took off to start a new life with a new identity. One evening, Effing, as he now calls himself, is mysteriously attacked, leaving him paralyzed in a wheelchair. From the information provided, Effing wants Marco to work out three different obituaries.

Effing dies on May 12, the exact day that he'd predicted. He leaves Marco some money, and Marco and Kitty are able to lead a happy life in New York's Chinatown district. Unfortunately, their happiness doesn't last for very long. Marco meets Solomon Barber, Effing's son, who now works as a history professor.

Things go from bad to worse on the domestic front as Kitty wants to have an abortion. This leads to her breaking up with Marco, despite Solomon's best efforts to bring them back together again. Solomon then takes Marco on a sentimental journey out West, where they visit the graves of Marco's mother Emily and his Uncle Victor. It is during this journey that Marco realizes that Solomon is actually his father. Apparently, he had had an affair with Marco's mother when she was a student in his history class.

Solomon falls into an open grave and breaks his back. Two months later, he dies and is buried next to Marco's mother. Marco continues on with his journey, stopping by the cave once inhabited by Effing, the man he now knows was his grandfather. But the cave has now been flooded by Lake Powell, and when his inheritance from the old man gets stolen, Marco starts walking West in an act of defiance. Once he reaches the Pacific coast, he sits on the beach waiting for the full moon to rise and find her place in the darkness.

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The novel Moon Palace is narrated in first person by the protagonist, Marco Stanley Fogg, who often refers to himself as “M.S.” He writes from a vantage point 15 years after the novel’s main action, which is set in the 1960s. Fogg is apparently offering his autobiography from birth through age 23. The tragedy of his childhood was losing his mother in an accident, after which he was raised by his uncle, Victor. The mystery of his father’s absence will be resolved later in the book. M.S. comments on his uncle’s strong influence, including his appreciation of intellectual processes and of books—including 1492 books that Victor gave him. While M.S. is a college student in New York, Victor dies, and M.S. gradually sells the books to support himself, eschewing formal employment.

Over the next few years, M.S. goes broke, is evicted, and lives as a homeless man in a cave in Central Park. Along the way, while trying to reconnect with his college friend Zimmer, he meets Kitty Wu, a woman he considers his twin. He later goes to live with Zimmer and has an affair with Kitty.

Fogg’s subsequent employment as the assistant to an eccentric author, Thomas Effing, leads ultimately to his connecting with his long-lost father. Effing, who may be blind, is elderly and near death; M.S. takes him for walks and serves as his eyes. While working for him, M.S. lives in Effing’s house and falls out of touch with Zimmer and Kitty. Effing’s personal history includes becoming a famous artist and a period living as a hermit out West and stealing from and killing some robbers. It turns out that Effing—whose real name was Julian Barber—is Fogg’s grandfather, whose death leads to Fogg’s reunion with his father, Solomon Barber.

When Fogg gets back together with Kitty, she becomes pregnant and has an abortion, which M.S. opposes. Leaving her and joining up with Sol, Fogg plans to travels with him to the Utah cave where Barber had lived. Tragically, in a graveyard accident, Sol dies, but Fogg continues alone to Utah. Other incidents render him penniless, and he walks from Utah to California.

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Moon Palace is the story of Marco Fogg, an orphan. As a student, Fogg moves into an apartment furnished largely with books, which were given to him by his uncle Victor. When Victor dies, Marco winds up gradually selling the books to survive because he doesn't want to get a job. Once the money from the books runs out, he goes and lives with a college friend named Zimmer for a period. While living with Zimmer, he meets and falls in love with Kitty Wu, after which he ends up homeless. After a stint living in Central Park, during which he becomes severely ill, Marco is rescued by Zimmer and Kitty Wu.

Later, Marco gets a job working for a man named Effing in a personal-assistance sort of capacity. His responsibilities include assisting the old man, who is blind and disabled, in getting around New York in his wheelchair. He is also required to write Epping's biography, and in learning about his life, Marco discovers first that "Effing" was actually a famous painter who had been known as Julian Barber, and second that Effing is his grandfather. In the aftermath of Effing's death, Effing's son (and Marco's father), Solomon Barber, inherits most of Effing's wealth.

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Paul Auster's Moon Palace is narrated by Marco Stanley Fogg, an orphan who is an undergraduate student at the opening of the book. The first thing to note is that the names themselves signify exploration, with "Fogg" being the surname of Phineas Fogg, the protagonist of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, "Marco" suggesting "Marco Polo", and Stanley, the journalist Sir Henry M. Stanley who went to Africa to find Livingstone. 

After attending boarding school in Chicago and spending a freshman year at Columbia University, Marco moves into an apartment furnished by his uncle Victor with 1492 books (presumably referring to the date on which Christopher Columbus made his voyage). After his uncle dies, Victor sells the books and eventually runs out of money and is evicted from his apartment. He briefly stays with a college friend Zimmer, where he meets and falls in love with Kitty Wu. After a short interlude of homelessness in Central Park, he is reunited with Zimmer and Wu. 

Next, Marco becomes a caretaker for an elderly man, Effing, who turns out to be the famous painter Julian Barber, living under a pseudonym. Eventually we discover that Effing/Barber is actually Marco's grandfather. 

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