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Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

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Maxim Jakubowski's view...

A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.

I'm a sucker for novels about books, writers, publishers (I wonder why?) and this unclassifiable thriller set in San Francisco is a delightful guilty pleasure. A mysterious hole in the wall bookstore and even more enigmatic owner (with a nod to Carlos Ruiz Zafon), a series of random volumes in an undecipherable language, codes, quirky but all too human protagonists, secret societies, conspiracies galore and the all-encompassing reach of the Internet and technological developments with its attendant geeks and nerds as well as brainy beauties form an incandescent and sparkling cocktail unlike any other. I wish I hadn't read it already so I could read it all over again and marvel at very surprising turn of the page. A winning bolt out of the blue.

Sarah Broadhurst's View :-

This is a very strange tale where the old meet the new, where ancient text which is being analysed by a mysterious group is borrowed by a young man, Clay, who takes it to Google City and solves a puzzle that others have taken centuries to unravel (and not succeeded!). If you are into the advantages technology gives us then you will love the contrasting worlds here, for the conclusion seems to be that technology conquers all … Well … maybe.

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If you like Robin Sloan you might also like to read books by Robert Glancy and Charlie Lovett.

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Synopsis

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a Web-design drone and serendipity coupled with sheer curiosity has landed him a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. And it doesn't take long for Clay to realize that the quiet, dusty book emporium is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few fanatically committed customers, but they never seem to actually buy anything, instead they simply borrow impossibly obscure volumes perched on dangerously high shelves, all according to some elaborate arrangement with the eccentric proprietor. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he has plugged in his laptop, roped in his friends (and a cute girl who works for Google) and embarked on a high-tech analysis of the customers' behaviour. What they discover is an ancient secret that can only be solved by modern means, and a global-conspiracy guarded by Mr. Penumbra himself...who has mysteriously disappeared.

Reviews

The story is gripping, the characters are terrific and the writing is clever and funny. As intelligent as it is enjoyable * Daily Mail * It's a proper novel. By which I mean, not that it has pages you actually turn - that is optional with novels nowadays - but pages that you actually want to turn, which is getting rarer and rarer.... Charming, gently comedic, sweetly nerdy and enthusiastic about media both old and new * Irish Times * Rollicking... an ode to the beauty of dead-tree books * New York Times * Delightful... Smart, hip and witty * Washington Post * The pages swell with Mr Sloan's nerdy affection and youthful enthusiasm for both tangible books and new media... A clever and whimsical tale with a big heart * The Economist *


About the Author

Robin Sloan grew up near Detroit and has worked at Poynter, Current TV and Twitter in jobs that have generally had 'something to do with figuring out the future of media'. He has previously published short fiction in Kindle-only editions (Mr Penumbra started out as a 6000-word ebook). He lives in San Francisco.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th February 2014

Author

Robin Sloan

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Author's Website

www.robinsloan.com/

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Publisher

Atlantic Books

Format

Paperback
304 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Maxim Jakubowski's Selection
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781782391210

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