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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Audiobook

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

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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

4.1 (7752 )
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  •  
    M. Doenges Joisey 12-15-16
    M. Doenges Joisey 12-15-16 Member Since 2012

    A reader & writer. I like non-fiction science, tech, bios, history, & politics - and fiction literature, mystery, spec, sci fi, & fantasy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "There were moments when I had my doubts, but as a whole it works"

    This book is based on our endless curiosity and need for meaning. In the sense that the book promises to answer so much, one might think it is condemned to failure. And the book's seeming overreach is a nagging issue throughout.

    But it's also very rewarding in its language, ideas, characters, and twisted plot. Ultimately it succeeds in taking us someplace that does have meaning. And for me, the journey and its end were both quite worthwhile. The book has charm and wit and was worthy of the time spent. I might have given it a 4.3 or something similar, but here immediately following the conclusion, and considering how well read this was, and even the occasional clever production devices, I gave it five stars. Enjoy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Winn CA USA 12-13-16
    Debbie Winn CA USA 12-13-16 Member Since 2002

    kaelesa

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ancient and modern artifacts collide"

    This book filled every nook of my favorite reads. There's mystery surrounding the bookstore and its customers, or lack thereof. A little romance, some exciting adventure, historical reference and the marvels of technology. The story is fast paced, and the narrator does an excellent job of imbuing the words with appropriate emotion.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica S Florida 12-12-16
    Jessica S Florida 12-12-16 Member Since 2013

    DesignerJess

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    "thoroughly enjoyable!"

    I found this book to be a delightful listen. I think it is absolutely worth a credit and has been excellent company on my various short road trips this past week.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    May 12-11-16
    May 12-11-16 Member Since 2009
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    "Magical"

    A wonderful book that reminds us all the magic of reading , small bookstores , and the keys to an adventure

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Patterson 12-08-16 Member Since 2003
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    "Books as backdrop for a Google paean"

    I was worried that “24-Hour Bookstore” would be surreal and highbrow. It isn’t. It’s a straight-up modern mystery built on a clever premise. The characters are fun but not very deep. And Google is quite well placed product-wise.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel 12-02-16
    Rachel 12-02-16
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    "a true delight for any liver of books"

    the main character's internal dialogue provides a bright, humorous backdrop to this tale of ancient secrets and secret societies in an age dominated by computers and technology.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alice 12-02-16
    Alice 12-02-16 Member Since 2008

    Another Audible Addict

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Say What?"
    Would you try another book from Robin Sloan and/or Ari Fliakos?

    No, I really do not understand this book. I guess I didn't know it was a "Matrix" kind of story (I guess).<br/>I am very lost and feel stupid for not getting it. It seems like it could be great. Good writing characters and narration, but for the storyline, which was too "out there". <br/>


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

    I didn't know it was of this genre, of which I already was turned off. <br/>


    Which scene was your favorite?

    This is not really a book of scenes, it's very abstract, ideas in the mind. <br/>If I had to say, I guess I was surprised when the main character goes to work to find the bookstore closed.


    Could you see Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Possibly. Someone who plays a more "nerdy" role.


    Any additional comments?

    Would ask for a return but it was already discounted.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie 11-30-16
    Stephanie 11-30-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Save Yourself"

    Worst audiobook I've listened to. This book came up as a suggestion based on my history but they couldn't have gotten it more wrong. So incredibly boring, the narration was abrasive, the main character was whiney. I tried SO MANY TIMES but couldn't even make it halfway through.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecka 11-27-16
    Rebecka 11-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Too quirky for me"

    There's nothing actually wrong with this book, for me it just felt too quirky and too witty (without being witty). Perhaps I would have liked it at 13, but not at 30.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Wolf 11-27-16
    Ann Wolf 11-27-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Perfect romp for bibliophiles of all media"

    This charming book takes the best elements of different genres -- mystery, hero's quest, code making and breaking, and even a sprinkle of good old fashioned growing up -- and makes something that is both all of them and not quite any, but certainly satisfying. Not only that, but there is something for all lovers of crafts and craftsmen... even audiobooks. Sloan nimbly balances seemingly conflicting worlds and ideas to bring about something wholly enjoyable, and Fliakos provides a perfect voice for the twenty-something narrator trying to figure out his life and identity at least as much as the literary goings-on. I listened to this in a single day, it was just that captivating.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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