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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 (2349 )
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  •  
    Deborah MARSHFIELD, MA, United States 04-30-13
    Deborah MARSHFIELD, MA, United States 04-30-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    38
    FOLLOWERS
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "petty ad for Google"

    This book was horribly boring and I think only people who work for Google would actually enjoy it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Martira Brooklyn, NY 04-27-13
    Nancy Martira Brooklyn, NY 04-27-13 Member Since 2003

    Brooklyn dog owner and detective story fan. I also enjoy memoirs, short stories and literary fiction.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    133
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Feed Your Inner Child"

    Like Ready Player One before it, this novel for grown-ups (presumably) reads like YA. This is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the Open Source coterie, with Google standing in for Hogwart's. A fun and enjoyable audiobook.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne K. Pipke Rocky Hill, Ct. United States 04-02-13
    Wayne K. Pipke Rocky Hill, Ct. United States 04-02-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Juvenile, shallow, boring"

    Juvenile, shallow, boring
    oo ooo oooo oo oo o oo oo oo .

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    clifford United States 04-02-13
    clifford United States 04-02-13 Member Since 2011

    akitonmyers

    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    93
    13
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    1
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    "written by someone in highschool?"

    This author... does not know how to write. or he is way to young. ugh. Just painful to listen to.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gus TUCSON, AZ, United States 02-02-13
    Gus TUCSON, AZ, United States 02-02-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    16
    2
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Maybe if you are a 23 year old IT guy..."
    What would have made Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore better?

    A plot


    Has Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Not much to do with the material


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    none


    Any additional comments?

    I wish I had never purchased it. The beginning seemed promising but it all went down hill after that. The ending was ridiculous

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin Fremont, CA, USA 10-24-12
    Erin Fremont, CA, USA 10-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    65
    3
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    0
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    "Delightful and so much fun!"

    I can't stop listening.. what on earth is going to happen next? This book is a delightful mix of mystery, sci-fi and bare-faced truth and I am laughing out loud in every chapter.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regina Seattle, WA, United States 98109 10-18-12
    Regina Seattle, WA, United States 98109 10-18-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    471
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    657
    125
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    22
    12
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    Story
    "Way boring"

    Likable slacker narrator, but the premise of an uptight secret fellowship of print loyalists doesn't have enough juice in this telling to keep me going. This book felt fatally thin.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cath Columbus, Ohio 10-17-12
    Cath Columbus, Ohio 10-17-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    221
    11
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    1
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    "6 stars, if that were possible"

    Fun. The story really seems to capture the modern techno-saavy hipster silicon valley start-up generation culture in an imaginative, entertaining, and delightful mystery-adventure.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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