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 21st 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 listener, no matter the time of day.
©2012 Robin Sloan (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
Laughed out loud. Great performance Clever book. Maybe won't appeal if you have zero tech knowledge but even then this book is a sweet romp. Enjoy!
Lots of subplots and circles and till the Final chapter, I st.ill didn't know what the ending was going to be to me that Mystery makes it great. Great characters, interesting plot, in the moment narrative. Overall I'd read it again
Great plot, great narration. Off beat, clever and prescient. What begins as a mystery spirals into plot-centric exploration of ideas deep enough to stimulate without belaboring. The conclusion satisfying. Even better is the positive and hopeful, albeit unabashedly humanist tone.
Absolutely worth a full credit.
The story was fun enough, but goodness, the narration was terrible. Fliakos over-enunciates everything, he doesn't do emotion well, and overall ruins what was otherwise a decent story. Had it been any longer than it is, I wouldn't have been able to finish it. I certainly will it be purchasing another book read by him.
can't beat Audible on a long drive through the West!
Every bookstore should be as full of mystery and adventure as this heretofore unknown bookstore. I loved listening to this; it was so much fun being a part of the adventure. The narrator was awesome, had perfect pacing, and I thought the voices of each character were very well done. I could see each person's face in my mind as the story went on.
Enjoyable to listen to, but I'm glad I bought this during a sale. It's a fun distraction, but not something I think anyone HAS to read. Great Reader.
This book should be re-categorized as fiction/fantasy. It is not a mystery thriller. I felt like listening to Harry Potter but with computers instead of magic wands and Google instead of Hogswarts. It took 3.5 hours before the story got a bit more interesting. I almost wanted to return it but also kept on hoping that it will deliver the thrill/mystery I was expecting, so I did finish listening though dissapointed. If you are looking for a fantasy story, it should be ok...i felt misled.
This book is magical and enchanting, requiring very little suspension of disbelief on the part of he reader/listener. It has earned a place on the premier shelf of books I want never to be without. It manages to poke fun, sometimes gently, sometimes blatantly, at subjects as divergent as Silicon Valley and human cults, religion and the Internet, technography and typography, computers and books. The author somehow manages, with wit and unusual insight, to weave all his motifs into a treasure of a story that defies classification in the realm of bibliology and book genre. A delight throughout!
What a clever story. A quick novel of fantasy. This book could have been stretched to separate books because you reach 3 small climaxes, but instead it is woven together quickly and brilliantly!
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