There are several things that are unusual about Sunset Towers. First of all, there is its name - the sun sets in the west, but Sunset Towers faces east, and it has no towers. The apartment building has five stories and stands along on the Lake Michigan shore. It is "glittery, (and) glassy", and the glass is one-way glass; "you can see out, (but) nobody can see in".
Although the building is huge, there are only six families living there, and they have been hand-picked. Each prospective tenant had been delivered a letter by "a most uncommon-looking delivery boy". The delivery boy was sixty-two years old. The letters that the prospective tenants received were signed by a Barney Northrup, only "there is no such person as Barney Northrup".
The delivery boy announced to each of his prospective tenants that "there's only one apartment left...it was meant for you". Under the delivery boy's persuasion, each of the prospective tenants agreed to rent the apartment they were offered, which was a good thing, because their names were already printed on the mailboxes in the lobby (Chapter 1).