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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel | [Robin Sloan]

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

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....
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (4290 )
5 star
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4.0 (3869 )
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4.4 (3890 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Donna 03-11-15
    Donna 03-11-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
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    158
    64
    FOLLOWERS
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    "Delightful"

    The narrator, Ari Fliakos, was fantastic. I loved his voice and his enthusiasm as he narrated this fun fantasy about the goings on in a mysterious little bookshop in San Francisco. It a combination of nerdiness and gothic mystery with a sweetness that I found delightful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie 03-10-15
    Julie 03-10-15 Member Since 2009

    Reading and knitting go together

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    167
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Like a fun version of Foucault's Pendulum"
    Where does Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the most charming books I've read in the past year.


    Who was the most memorable character of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and why?

    Mr. Penumbra is weird and kind.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin 03-09-15
    Kevin 03-09-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An amazing little gem"

    This was such a lovely surprise of a book. I didn't know what I was getting myself into but I would gladly put it in my Top 20 list of all times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Haley 03-01-15
    Haley 03-01-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    26
    2
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    0
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    "Wonderful (Relatively Light) Story with Magnificent Narration"

    I'm pretty sure I actually laughed out loud several times, which is a big deal. (I can thank both the author and the narrator for this.) The story is fun, well-written, and refreshing. Overall, the book's tone is light, but it raises some interesting questions about technology, books, and mortality, which I think adds a lot to the story.

    The narrator, as I already mentioned, really did add to my experience of story. Ari Fliakos truly put on a performance, complete with different voices for the various characters. All of the voices seemed to fit the characters, too, which is important. Definitely recommend!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Martin 02-23-15
    N. Martin 02-23-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    19
    4
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    "Very.... Googly"

    It was refreshingly up to date with modern technologies and it was pleasant that the author didn't try to obscure the involved companies. Lots of fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sallie 02-23-15
    Sallie 02-23-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
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    113
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    "Just plain fun!"

    Two worlds existing at the same time. An ancient odd bookshop and the tech world of Google. The customers of the bookstore are mysterious; who are they and why do they want the books from the back? There is a mystery to be solved and Google employees are quickly trying to solve the problem with high tech to protect Mr. Penumberbra and preserve his bookstore. I enjoyed the characters and the creative story. College students digging deep to discover an ancient secret.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine 02-18-15
    Christine 02-18-15 Member Since 2008
    ratings
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    6
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    Story
    "A fun book to listen to!"

    If you want to fun book to listen to, but don't want to have to really listen hard in case you miss a detail then this is the book for you!

    Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore started off a little slow but then picked up momentum. It has all the elements you could ever want in a book but on a smaller scale...mystery, poking fun of yourself and other people, making fun of the big man-" Google", A little bit a thrill and a little bit of Da Vinci Code, all rolled into one.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audrey 02-16-15
    Audrey 02-16-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Google, and then Google and little more Google"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The narration was fine. Nothing really to complain about. The story was clearly where it lacked.


    What was most disappointing about Robin Sloan’s story?

    Google. I like Google, I use it every day. They've made some great products, it's true. I just felt like I was watching (listening) to "The Internship" all over again. It got to where I was rolling my eyes every time the word 'Google' was mentioned, and since I listen in the car and I was rolling them so often, I began to fear for my safety.


    Any additional comments?

    I called the so-called 'mystery' pretty early on in the book and the relationships were pretty weak, so there wasn't much to compel me to continue listening. Sorry, Robin. Not my cup of tea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mykidskeeper 02-13-15
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    11
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    "Phenomenal!"

    I'm not gonna say anything here. It's excellent and you should experience it all fresh! Even little spoilers are spoilers...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. M. RILLEY Connecticut 02-12-15
    M. M. RILLEY Connecticut 02-12-15 Member Since 2014

    Desperately Literate Housewife

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Quirky, fun read."

    I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It was a laugh out loud adventure of lovable geekiness that had me constantly smiling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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