Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Robin Sloan

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  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 211mm x 30mm | 431g
  • Publication date: 2 October 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0374214913
  • ISBN 13: 9780374214913
  • Sales rank: 26,379

Product description

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life--mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone--and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead "checking out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he's embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what's going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore. With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that's rare to the world of literary fiction. "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.

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Author information

Robin Sloan grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet.

Customer reviews

By Jessica 19 Jul 2013 5

This book was great, I love it. One of my top two reads of the year. I recommend it to anyone who loves a realistic adventure, some geek talk, and books!

Review quote

"Wonderful . . . I had a great time reading ["Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore"], flew through it in one sitting . . . The reader gets that deeply satisfying feeling of entering a wholly created world, and looking on in wonder as that world gets created by the author's fearlessness and disregard for convention . . . It's a lot of fun, a real tour de force." --George Saunders, "Blip Magazine ""I love this book . . . It's a good-hearted, optimistic book about friendship and being alive and the lure of the mysterious. It's a book that shows you Google the way Google sees itself, and bookshops the way bookshops ought to be. It's a tonal roadmap to a positive relationship between the old world and the new. It's a book that gets it. Plus, you know: book cults, vertical bookshops, hot geeks, theft, and the pursuit of immortality. This book is in my emotional heartland." --Nick Harkaway, author of "The Gone-Away World" and "Angelmaker ""A clever, entertaining story that also manages to be a thought-provoking meditation on progress, information and technology. Full of intelligence and humor." --Charles Yu, "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe ""Irresistible." --"Newsweek ""A mysterious bookstore, puzzles, adventure, secret societies, quirky humor, new knowledge, old knowledge, and old-old knowledge. What else could you want in a book? Seriously." --Emily Temple, "Flavorpill"