Algiers, 1940. MAMAN TITINE has lived alone with her five children ever since her husband JOSEPH, a Jewish post office employee, set off for Paris with forged papers to find work. Maman Titine tries to hide the fact she's worried # especially so that she can ease the childhood problems of her son MEYER, an intelligent, proud and nonconformist young boy who loves her in a jealous way. When financial trouble and loneliness threaten to finally get the better of her she travels to occupied Paris in an attempt to persuade Joseph to return. He has to remain, however: he cannot earn a living in war-torn Algiers. Meanwhile Meyer is growing up; he has his first sexual experiences, and tries as best he can to keep the family fed. When Joseph returns in 1945 Meyer, who fought on De Gaulle's side at the age of nearly 18, goes to France. He studies medicine there and becomes a famous surgeon.