We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Audiobook

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

Regular Price:$17.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (7237 )
5 star
 (3032)
4 star
 (2622)
3 star
 (1193)
2 star
 (276)
1 star
 (114)
Overall
4.1 (6550 )
5 star
 (2676)
4 star
 (2239)
3 star
 (1200)
2 star
 (301)
1 star
 (134)
Story
4.4 (6572 )
5 star
 (3837)
4 star
 (1970)
3 star
 (610)
2 star
 (102)
1 star
 (53)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    tigrrlily04 VA 05-21-13
    tigrrlily04 VA 05-21-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Should be categorized as teen lit"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Maybe....it was a fun story at first, but about half way through I got very bored. It's definitely a teen lit-type book. If I had that expectation going into it I may have enjoyed it more, but maybe not. It got a bit annoying at times.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Katz 01-16-13
    Janet Katz 01-16-13 Member Since 2006

    Avid listener of mysteries, thrillers, a little sci fi. Also enjoy self improvement titles. Mom, wife, Social Media Coordinator for biz.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    322
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    285
    62
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    21
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Better suited 4 teen audience.NOT Ready Player One"

    I know I have been spoiled by the likes of Connelly, Deaver, Lippman, French, Child and others. This book is kind of juvenile in its plot and pacing. I think my 12 year old would love it. However, it is NOT Ready Player One (RPO). RPO is a well-polished narrative with clearly thought out characters. It moves neither too fast nor too slow. I adored it. This book has a bit of fantasy in it but it doesn't seem to fit with the non-fantasy parts. Characters are very one dimensional and predictable - almost like cartoons at times, especially Mr. Penumbra himself.
    This book comes across like someone just sat down and typed it up with no effort to edit, polish or improve it after the fact. It's not awful, simply unsophisticated.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FRITZ STOOP Moraga, CA USA 11-09-13
    FRITZ STOOP Moraga, CA USA 11-09-13 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    818
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    278
    123
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    43
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun Read, but Scary"

    The generation of video game players and other techno-beasts is aging. Whether they are becoming adults, as in reality-based productive citizens remains to be seen. Corporate-based cults like Google-ites tend to scare me as the charm and super-reality presumed by the cultist of this religion-like fervor, can lead it's minion down a rosy path to nowhere. Meanwhile, Google and their ilk are soaking up information on all of us, from our buying patterns to our political affiliations, and using them to who knows what end. The characters that control this data (and its eventual impact on our lives) are controlled by whom exactly? They are rich beyond having normal tethers to reality, and powerful enough to effect QOL issues for EVERYONE!

    And that makes me more than a bit uncomfortable. The General Motors and General Electrics of the past simply wanted to monopolize their markets and control the political decision makers via Lobbyi$t$, while making ungodly amounts of cash. But at least they made some helpful things along the way. Now the world is controlled by a class of wealthy game players, that discussed their thievery as 'investment vehicles' that benefit a small few, while making exactly nothing useful.

    Now we have the notion of 'belonging' to something as meaningless as a cult or religion, that pays us very well to do who knows what for who knows whom. All this brainpower would be better exploited in science and medicine, aimed at improving the quality of our lives without disturbing the natural environment in which we survive.

    Penumbra's tale is an old one, but the setting here is not a creepy little bookstore. It is a masterful manipulation of many of our brightest young minds, a story from which we get very little, if anything.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Chapel Hill, NC, United States 10-27-13
    Lee Chapel Hill, NC, United States 10-27-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    178
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    36
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So Over-rated!"

    The leading user review compares this book to the Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern). This is grossly unfair to the Night Circus. Penumbra has enough ideas for a really good short story. The characters are mostly interesting types, although fairly static and undeveloped. The lead character is boring, and the most interesting character, Penumbra, is not "on stage" nearly enough. I would compare this more to a watered down "14" (Peter Clines) which was much more interesting. I found that even at the most climactic parts of the book, I really didn't care that much. I finished the book mainly because it was only about 8 hours long. The Night Circus, on the Other hand, is about 100x more dense with ideas, imagination, character development, and dramatic tension. All that is not to say this book is bad; it is good enough that I think it could have been better. If you want a hip, fun, modern, weird mystery book, try 14 instead.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 03-13-16
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 03-13-16 Member Since 2015

    Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5402
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    737
    460
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1683
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating, Entertaining, Fresh, New..."

    Now this should be a critic's choice! Only this is one smart book that doesn't hold any presumptions. Many thanks to the Oberlin, Kansas reviewer. This is one I may not have given a second glance, had it not been for her review.

    On the other hand i think most of us who love books are drawn to any title having to do with mysterious bookstores. And It doesn't get any more mysterious than Mr. Penumbra's bookstore. What is better than a genuine mystery with fascinating characters all revolving around books?

    Ari Fliakos is as talented a narrator as I have encountered.

    This is fun and fast read!

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Basehor, KS, United States 12-28-12
    Ron Basehor, KS, United States 12-28-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    849
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    475
    73
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    182
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun read. High tech meets ancient mysteries."

    I really enjoyed this book it reminded me of Ready Player One and The Da Vinci Code. If you liked those books then you will be in for a real treat here. I will have keep an eye out for more books by Robin Sloan. I also really liked this narrator I think he did a great job bring the characters to life.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Wells California 07-18-15
    Chris Wells California 07-18-15 Member Since 2016

    nuke chick

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent adventure"

    Fun story about some of the best narration I've ever heard. I'll be reading more by this author and listening to more from this narrator.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Henderson Colorado 07-18-15
    J. Henderson Colorado 07-18-15 Member Since 2016

    Rob

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    196
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great clean charming and intelligent adventure"

    Loved it all the characters were interesting and good depth in variety performance was outstanding

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendiful 07-18-15
    Wendiful 07-18-15 Member Since 2015

    intrapreneur

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful and clever"

    Artfully celebrates human inventions old and new in a story full of lovable characters and a twisty plot. A clever premise that satisfies our curiosity, and uncovers a wide spectrum of human ingenuity. Loved it, and couldn't put it down.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda L. Serra 07-17-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well read and entertaining"

    The characters were quirky and the story concept was unique. The reader was exactly the right voice for this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.