As a child, Mevlut always felt like he was missing out. When he moves to Istanbul - 'the centre of the world' - he is immediately enthralled. He wanders through its alleys for forty years, working as a street vendor and gaining a unique perspective of a radically changing city.
Mevlut watches his friends and relatives settle down and make their fortunes, while he stumbles toward middle age in a series of jobs leading nowhere. He never manages to shake the 'strangeness in his mind', until at last fortune conspires to let him understand what it is he yearns for . . .