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
This was much more complicated that I thought it would be, which made it very entertaining. The characters are complex and the situations were unexpected enough to keep me guessing. All in all, a lot of fun!
This book will definelty get a second listen.
The crafty way they recreated the computerized replica of the library.
Pleasant speaking voice. Easy to know which character is doing the speaking or thinking.
Definetly. Listened in the car, and tucked my kindle in jacket pocket and listened while I shopped for gifts, and groceries.
This books a winner for a mystery lover of Library / bookstore reads.
Robin Sloan's novel Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore was a joy to listen to. I loved that many of the relationships were formed during the span of the book so that I could see them playing out from the beginning. The puzzle that's trying to be solved really keeps the plot moving. I loved the tone of voice of Clay the protagonist.
Ari Fliakos did a wonderful job voicing the whole novel. Excellent performance. Each character had their own tone of voice without sounding cheesy or over played.
It's a story about books and bookstores and young and old and quests and puzzles and tech geeks and friends and typography (yes!) and guys in black robes and more. It's a fun, never-dull listen from start to finish and everybody lives happily ever after in a nice, but not sticky-sweet, way.
I found the mystery intriguing throughout the book.
I loved the juxtaposition of the mysteries lying in an old book store with the innovations happening at Google today. It was a fun and interesting ride.
Yes, already am listening to it again.
Absolutely loved this book. Big mystery fan. There's pageturning mystery here but it's also incredibly well written, well performed and a total delight. Great for SF fans, fascinating portrayal of Google and just a magical experience. Immediately went looking for more by this author, but this is the first. Will have to wait.
I haven't heard this narrator or listened to this author before, but they are both now on my top lists and this book is already in the 'relisten' group. You will not regret it.
Tell us about yourself!
A nice light read. An odd premise for a story but it works.
The google compound.
I accidently purchased this book, and figured, what the heck. I can always delete and move one. With my commute being 90 minutes each way - I use these for my sanity and keep a selection with me.This story started as expected, but twenty minutes in I realized - THIS STORY YOU CAN SEE IN YOUR HEAD. the author gave the details missing in many stories to paint a full picture, but left enough open for the image to be yours. It has a nice balance of charater story, mystery, drama, a touch of romance, real friendship, and the touch that is needed to make the characters into people. You'll notice - I have not said anything of the actual story - so here is a very brief summaryPicture a Internet tech geek, with a artistic streak - caught in a dot com failure. Cannot find work - ends up taking a job in a very old bookstore - but what a store. Very litttle in it for the average reader, but a very odd selection of readers that - actually trade books, but not buying them......How is it staying open? getting money for payroll? Wait it gets odder - a cult? Religion? who are these people coming in and out? Hey, the books are in some code, but each one is just a key to find a part of a larger puzzle.How do they help you keep the interest of the cute "normal" girl you meet who happens to work for google? Put it all together and the ability to value your firends and friendships and you get a very good story.This review from a guy who likes Hobbits, Hammers Slammers, as well as James Herriot and his morning audio newspaperIf you liked Calculating God, you'll love this
If you're on the fence about getting this book - i suggest you do. It was a very pleasant surprise - enough that a guy like me with several hundred audio books wrote his first real one - for this.
It was such a wonderful experience for me listening to this book that I decided to keep my audible.com account. I have always considered myself as a traditional reader who values books as in physical and visible papers. This book, thought, was meant to be listened, and the narrator did such a fabulous job that I just could not put the book down. Every part of the book was enjoyable! The story line, the modern feeling to it, and the contemporary components that you would rarely find in other books.
I literally could not put my headphones down even for one second. I was listening to it when I drive, before I go to bed, or even when I was walking. I finished the book in two days!
Ari Fliakos was amazing when he adds the vocal factor to each of the characters in the book. It brings the book alive. When you listen to it, it feels like that the stories and the characters are floating in front of you, around you. It just feels amazing.
Highly highly highly recommend. I do not have much of a saying because I just entered this world of audio books, but if you were a traditional reader like me, and you are wondering what on earth can audio book ever bring more value to you, try this book!
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