Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan

  • Genre: Literary
Our rating: 5/5 stars

4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 1,431 Ratings)

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore read description and reviews

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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.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore book review; Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore book description; Robin Sloan; Literary books

Posted Reviews

  • So fun...

    By bolderright
    Fast-paced lark. (Okay for kids other than one mention of naked girlfriend breathing hard.)
  • A bookish speculative fiction mystery

    By Venice Native
    And charming from beginning to end. I'm going to read everything Mr. Sloan writes. I highlighted so many passages that touched me or I thought were especially well-put.
  • Way too much fun

    By Marina Ariadne
    The last time a book pushed so many of my interest buttons was in 1987: Charles de Lint’s Moonheart. Worked for a rarebook research library out of college (one of the two best jobs in my life), studied calligraphy, lived up the block from a digital typesetter—in the 1970s!—my SCA persona was from the Tudor period, when Aldine books would have been available, and read a wide variety of topics, and had the books to prove it. How could I not find this interesting? There was a bit of a wobble toward the end, but the only thing I didn’t like was that the folks on the email list forgot to mention that the (physical) cover glows in the dark. Startled me good one night. Now I have both versions. Can’t get ebooks signed, nor lend them around.
  • Fantastic

    By Lwdz
    High brow concepts but still an easy read. I loved it and was sad to see it end!
  • A bit a magic

    By Laguna Guy
    Clever, imaginative, inspiring and whimsical.
  • Excellent choice!

    By Better or worse?
    This is the perfect book all around. Danger, suspense, humor, romance, and tons of adventure, it should be a classic in everyone's library across the globe.
  • Best book I've read this year

    By Galloping-Cat
    I read lots and lots of books, and this the best book I've read in years. Very clever linkages between the bibliophile's world and the universe of technology. Couldn't put it down.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed it…and...

    By Bgbdbrd
    Call me a cynic, but I, at times, found myself wondering aloud if the author was on the Google payroll- …such a beautiful, and hopeful picture of an organization that I’m still not comfortable trusting… No offense Mr. Sloan, I loved your book…maybe, (and hopefully), I am just being cynical (about Google-)...
  • funny and suspenseful

    By roxy8273
    i grew up in the bay area so i love that the book is set in san francisco. i think the way he poked fun at silicon valley is very funny and inoffensive. definitely worth reading
  • Read on recommendation

    By beggarsnthieves
    I don't read often. Practically never. I can't say I've read a book that left a chill, neck hairs standing, skin goosebumped. Not because it's creepy (it's not) but, because it so eloquently talks about the meaning of life... Of "immortality" in such refreshing way. Mr. Penumbra's starts off talking in a very relevant 21st century way, but ends up weaving into something completely unexpected. This book is perfection. PS- I'm never compelled to actually write a review about a book I've just read. So hopefully that counts for something.

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