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 is a delightful book and an even more delightful audiobook.
The narrator does a wonderful job of capturing the main character's voice and creating a very personal telling of a fantasy science-fiction publishing typographical romp in San Francisco. This book defies categorization. It is a wonderful surprise.
Inside you'll find a plethora of interesting characters. It will move you from feelings of uneasiness to many enjoyable moments. This is what most of us are looking for; a good story told by a good narrator.
It's hard to explain this story. The plot itself is a puzzle as the characters try to solve a complex puzzle. Great characters and the voice the story is told in really works. The narrator does a nice job differentiating the voices.
I've read the book before as an e-book. The story is fun, and covers a lot of ground for how short it is. The writing style is utterly engaging. But the book is even better as an audiobook. The reader perfectly captures the personality of Clay, the first person protagonist. The perfect book for a vacation road trip. Although the style is fun, lots of thought provoking ideas are included. Get this book. You can thank me later.
I loved listening the the narrator tell the story. His voice was like listening to your best friend tell you about a funny thing that happened to him that day.
Just the right touch of humor thrown in when things start leaning towards monotonous. I love books - love reading - so a book about a strange bookstore and mysterious "way out" books definitely kept me reading.
Fliakos's performance was like sitting in a comfy chair across from an old friend and listening to him describe what a weird day he had. Loved his voice change for his best friend Neal - he could do voice over for Keanu Reeves.
There is no need to change something when it is perfect. It was the title of the book that drew my attention to read the little blurb about the plot and give this book a chance. I would have missed out on a very entertaining story, had that connection not been made.
Starts out a little slow as it lays the ground work, then gets busy, crazy and funny. The main characters internal thoughts are great, full of unexpected one liners that will make you laugh out loud in surprise!
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