Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
A Novel

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The last book about books I read that was as intriguing was Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s wonderful cult classic The Shadow of the Wind. I have every expectation that Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore will be starting cults of its own.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

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 twenty-first 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 reader, no matter the time of day.

 

About Robin Sloan

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Robin Sloan grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet.
 
Published October 2, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 305 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Jack Goodstein on Sep 27 2013

The last book about books I read that was as intriguing was Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s wonderful cult classic The Shadow of the Wind. I have every expectation that Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore will be starting cults of its own.

Read Full Review of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookst... | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Financial Times

Excellent
Reviewed by George Pendle on Jul 26 2013

Sloan, a self-described “media inventor” and former manager at Twitter, clearly knows his milieu, and is adept at displaying both the thrill of programming and the tactile qualities of a well-bound book.

Read Full Review of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookst... | See more reviews from Financial Times

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Erin

Erin 5 Sep 2013

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