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
In the middle...I mean it's not going to be amongst my most beloved but I'm definitely urging others to read it. Especially those young and old it spans generations.
A bit slow to start but the momentum builds, there is wit, not hysterical humour but subtle chuckles and suspense....all the characters needed for a quest. Part fantasy part mystery...and an introduction to what it must be like to know a Googler.
The introduction to the bookstore...I could clearly see it and wish desperately I could visit it.
Rename it? No...I wouldn't do that
Digital youth meet those who love actual books and how the two worlds collide
Graduate student in philosophy and classics (i.e. Greek & Latin)
I would recommend this to everyone (but especially bibliophiles)! I know this is going to sound really over the top, but this book has been a major help in making grad school bearable. I listen to this book whenever I need to relax-- usually while cleaning my apartment or taking a walk. The book is funny and optimistic and makes you feel just a little bit better about the world out there.
There are a lot of typical young man bildungsroman tropes, but there are also strong female characters and other subplots that make the story more complicated and interesting.
Yes absolutely! This book is fantastic and it totally draws you in. You also want to solve the mysteries along with the characters.
When I first read the description for this book, I thought it was really silly. And it is. But it's light, humorous, and a little bit ridiculous in a good way. Take a break from the stresses to everyday life to give it a listen! Also, Ari Fliakos does a really nice job!
This tale is a sweet story that reminds us all of what is truly important in life. As soon as the book ended I started it again listening with my thirteen year old daughter. I know she will love it as much as I did. Wonderfully written and beautifully performed!
learn how an old school book store owner and a young creative with a Mac figure out the meaning of life! a great mystery, compelling story that I did not want to our down! countless plot twists, connections and a history lesson all in one.
Story was clever. Performance incredible. But it was probably the use of language, imagery, syntax and many pop/social references that had me marveling throughout. I must have been the exact target audience or something. Techie, grew up in 1980s, English and liberal arts education . . . . Or maybe everyone can find themselves in this story. I highly recommend this book!
After reading a 33 hour tome I needed something that sounded clever, fun, and blessedly short. This fit the bill perfectly. Full of literary, technical, and typlogical references, this book is a dream for mystery lovers, nerds, and geeks alike.
Oh Mr. Penumbra. This one is going on my favorites list for sure. Reviews seemed mixed, so I went in almost apprehensive and not sure what to expect. LOVED every minute of it. I have to say, I'm a graphic designer, so discovering that in common with Clay had me hooked early on. This was such a fun, different and unique story. The dialogue, descriptions and mystery were perfect. So good. I'm also really impressed with the narrator. Great diversity of voices, and emotion put into the telling. The right pauses, whispers, emphasis where needed... beautifully done.
Perfect fit of narrator to story. Fun, engrossing story. Never dull. If you love both books and digital technology you will enjoy this book. The author has created a wonderful story where the two modes are f communication and storytelling converge. Delightful characters abound. You feel like you know them and therefore actually care what happens as the story unfolds. Lots of fun. The only fly in my enjoyment ointment is that the ending left me slightly less than satisfied. It was a quick wrap up to tie all loose strands together. I wanted the story to go on and explore the lives of the characters. In other words, I wasn't ready for it to be over. Had lots more bandwidth for more chapters.
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