This is a novel book. The book, which takes place in late 19th century New York City, tells the story of Basil March, who finds himself in the middle of a dispute between his employer, a self-made millionaire named Dryfoos, and his old German teacher, an advocate for workers' rights named Lindau. The main character of the novel, Basil March, provides the main perspective throughout the novel. He resides in Boston with his wife and children until he is persuaded by his idealistic friend Fulkerson to move to New York to help him 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 on an apartment full of what he and his wife refer to as 'gimcrackery'—trinkets and decorations that do not appeal to their upper-middle-class tastes.