Mainly the story of Shinsuke and his stepmother, ranging from Shinsuke's infanthood to his mid-teens. Coal workers and the mines dominate nearly every aspect of the life of the characters. Shinsuke's father dies while bravely using dynamite to rescue a group of trapped Korean miners. Several older men attempt to help he and his mother cope, including a kind Korean and a Harley-riding yakuza.
100 miles north, a bit east and up, is Flåklypa... home of bicycle repairman Reodor Felgen and his two assistants - Solan Gundersen, morning bird and natural born optimist, and Ludvig who is a true pessimist.
A man with a gunshot wound in the stomach comes to first house and collapses in Anita's apartment. A minute later he dies and the girl horrified by what happened, must look for somebody who would help her get rid of the corpse.