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.
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.
Closing date: 04/07/2018
Publication date: 27/02/2014
Publisher: Atlantic Books
|Publication date:||27th February 2014|
|Genres:||Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
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.More About Robin Sloan