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.