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 book was horribly boring and I think only people who work for Google would actually enjoy it.
Brooklyn dog owner and detective story fan. I also enjoy memoirs, short stories and literary fiction.
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.
This author... does not know how to write. or he is way to young. ugh. Just painful to listen to.
Not much to do with the material
I wish I had never purchased it. The beginning seemed promising but it all went down hill after that. The ending was ridiculous
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.
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.
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.
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