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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

4.0 (2525 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kelly ATLANTA, GEORGIA, United States 12-06-12
    Kelly ATLANTA, GEORGIA, United States 12-06-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dan Brown meets Harry Potter meets Google"
    What made the experience of listening to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore the most enjoyable?

    The reader does an excellent job with timing and voices. This is a book that is easy to dip in and out of.


    What other book might you compare Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore to and why?

    The plot is novel and incorporates popular, current technology in examining an ancient text. It reminds me of a less malevolent, less pulpy Dan Brown book.


    Have you listened to any of Ari Fliakos’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not, but will be on the lookout for more from him. Excellent reader!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Will technology be able to solve an ancient code that holds the promise of immortality?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Missouri Ozarks 12-06-12
    Amazon Customer Missouri Ozarks 12-06-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    42
    14
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    "A very enjoyable listen"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    endlessreader Oklahoma City 12-05-12
    endlessreader Oklahoma City 12-05-12

    jb

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "very enjoyable !"
    Would you listen to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore again? Why?

    This book will definelty get a second listen.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore?

    The crafty way they recreated the computerized replica of the library.


    What about Ari Fliakos’s performance did you like?

    Pleasant speaking voice. Easy to know which character is doing the speaking or thinking.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definetly. Listened in the car, and tucked my kindle in jacket pocket and listened while I shopped for gifts, and groceries.


    Any additional comments?

    This books a winner for a mystery lover of Library / bookstore reads.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. DeMarco Vicenza, Italy 12-05-12
    J. DeMarco Vicenza, Italy 12-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    11
    2
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    "Great listen"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sherry Kirkland, WA, United States 12-04-12
    sherry Kirkland, WA, United States 12-04-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    68
    32
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    FOLLOWING
    2
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    "Feed your inner dragonslayer"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Austin, TX, United States 12-04-12
    Jamie Austin, TX, United States 12-04-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is a Fun Ride"
    Would you try another book from Robin Sloan and/or Ari Fliakos?

    Yes


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    I found the mystery intriguing throughout the book.


    Which character – as performed by Ari Fliakos – was your favorite?

    Mr. Penumbra


    Was Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore worth the listening time?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Austin, TX, United States 12-03-12
    Lauren Austin, TX, United States 12-03-12 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    1
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    Story
    "Possibly best listen ever!"
    Would you listen to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore again? Why?

    Yes, already am listening to it again.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tiana DES PLAINES, IL, United States 12-02-12
    Tiana DES PLAINES, IL, United States 12-02-12 Member Since 2004
    ratings
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    127
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    "I absolutely love this book"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 12-01-12
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 12-01-12 Member Since 2011

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    231
    59
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
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    "What a Pleasant Surprise"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A nice light read. An odd premise for a story but it works.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore?

    The google compound.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer MILTON, NY, United States 12-01-12
    Amazon Customer MILTON, NY, United States 12-01-12 Member Since 2003
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Every once in a while a mistake IS a good thing"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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