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
And it is. This is a delightful book that has fun characters, a good story and a love for the printed word. Even though I listened to the audio version I will still always love the printed book best.
Avid reader and journalist deploying my pen in the service of this planet's visionaries.
A lovely story that moves apace and keeps you guessing to the end, delightfully performed with ace characters - outlandish but completely believable. Vivid. Funny. Self aware.
This is not going to be a book that stays with me forever, but it was a fun read. The action reminds me of a Dan Brown book, and the reader made the story exciting.
Penumbra is good clean fun that got a little repetitious with all those Google references. Other reviews mention the geekiness of the book but there is nothing so technical that an engaged listener would find too complicated. The characters are fun and quirky. The concept is definitely fun and quirky. The really neat stuff actually happens offline. Definitely worth a fun and easy listen. But sometimes I felt like I was listening to the audio book version of the Internship movie starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson because the author mentions Google-this and Google-that a lot.
Had no expectations. My son-in-law put it on my IPod. It was interesting, carried me right along, and was a fun listen. The narrator was excellent. Don't know how authentic or realistic the parts about Google world were, but a fun look into the possibilities.
I usually don't write reviews but this book was a lovely surprise. Started just a wee slow but then the characters and story came about. The story was a engaging and thought provoking at times. Nice characters and intriguing little mystery
It was an okay book with a combination of the surreal and structured electronic world. Interesting topic and the plot went downhill as the characters were too spread out and none really developed any depth. Somehow Google and Immortality and cult were in a the same sentence. Also, the leading female character sucks....
Good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good fun cook cool week alone dude
I consumed this (audio)book in less than 72 hours. It's intriguing, smart, fantastical, and entertaining all at once. I got a little teary-eyed at the end. It's not quite "bigger than Potter" to this listener/reader, but it's up there. I only wish there were 6 more to accompany it. Highly recommend.
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.