Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

By Robin Sloan

A Winner of the Alex Award, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything instead, they "check out" large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele's behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore's secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.



    REVIEW QUOTES

A real tour de force [and] a beautiful fable...The reader is swept along by Sloan's enthusiasm. "George Saunders, BLIP Magazine"

Part love letter to books, part technological meditation, part thrilling adventure, part requiem... Eminently enjoyable, full of warmth and intelligence. "The New York Times Book Review"

A book about passion--for books, for history, for the future...There is nothing about "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" that I didn't love. "Cory Doctorow"

Delightful. "Graham Joyce, The Washington Post"

An irresistible page-turning novel. "Newsweek"

One of the most thoughtful and fun reading experiences you're likely to have this year...There's so much largehearted magic in this book. "NPR"

A jaunty, surprisingly old-fashioned fantasy about the places where old and new ways of accessing knowledge meet...["Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore"] cleverly uses the technological age in the service of its fantasy...Sloan's ultimate answer to the mystery of what keeps people solving Penumbra's puzzle is worth turning pages to find out. "Tess Taylor, San Francisco Chronicle"

[A] winning literary adventure...Sloan grounds his jigsawlike plot with Big Ideas about the quest for permanence in the digital age. "Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly"

Fantastic...I loved diving into the world that Sloan created, both the high-tech fantasyland of Google and the ancient analog society. It's packed full of geeky allusions and wonderful characters, and is a celebration of books, whether they're made of dead trees or digits. "Jonathan H. Liu, Wired, GeekDad"

Sloan makes bits and bytes appear beautiful. ...The rebels' journey to crack the code--grappling with an ancient cult, using secret passwords and hidden doorways--will excite anyone's inner child. "The Economist"

Man, is this book fun--especially for any book nerd who isn't in denial about living in the modern age. If you love physical books (the smell! The feel!) but wouldn't give up your iPhone for any reason, if you like puzzles and geeky allusions and bookish cults and quests, then this book is for you. It also glows in the dark. "Emily Temple, Flavorpill"

What makes "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" so impressive is Sloan's great gift for storytelling and his cast of brilliant, eccentric characters. Think of this novel as part Haruki Murakami, part Dan Brown and part Joseph Cornell: a surreal adventure, an existential detective story and a cabinet of wonders at which to marvel. "Carmela Ciuraru, Newsday"

Beguiling...The plot is as tight as nesting boxes, or whatever their digital equivalent...Sly and infectious. "Karen R. Long, The Cleveland Plain Dealer"

Sloan isn't just exploring new ideas, but laying the groundwork for a new genre of literature. While the influence of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson is present, "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" is something all its own: a technocratic adventure where every riddle and puzzle is solved with very real gadgets, a humanizing reflection on technology that evokes the tone of a fairy tale, a brisk and brainy story imbued with such confidence that it will leave you with nothing but excitement about the things to come. "Kevin Nguyen, Grantland"

In a time when actual books are filling up tag-sale dollar boxes, along with VHS tapes and old beepers, "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" reminds us that there is an intimate, adventurous joy in the palpable papery things called novels, and in the warm little secret societies we used to call bookstores.' Robin Sloan's novel is delightfully funny, provocative, deft, and even thrilling. And for reasons more than just nostalgia, I could not stop turning these actual pages. "John Hodgman"

The love child of Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus" and Neal Stephenson's "Reamde," "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" is a hugely enjoyable story of friendship, living, and the lure of the mysterious. It's a good-hearted, optimistic book about the meeting of modern technology and medieval mystery, a tonal road map to a positive relationship between the old world and the new. It's a book that gets it. Plus, you know: cryptographic cults, vertical bookshops, hot geeks, theft, and the pursuit of immortality. I loved it. And yes, I too would freeze my head. "Nick Harkaway"

Robin Sloan is a skilled architect, and "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore "is an ingeniously designed space, full of mysteries and codes. A clever, entertaining story that also manages to be a thought-provoking meditation on progress, information and technology. Full of intelligence and humor. "Charles Yu""

"His story is an old-fashioned tale likeably reconceived for the digital age, with the happy message that ingenuity and friendship translate across centuries and data platforms." -- Publishers Weekly, "starred, boxed review"

"A real tour de force [and] a beautiful fable...The reader is swept along by Sloan's enthusiasm."--George Saunders, " BLIP Magazine ""Part love letter to books, part technological meditation, part thrilling adventure, part requiem... Eminently enjoyable, full of warmth and intelligence."--"The New York Times Book Review ""A book about passion--for books, for history, for the future...There is nothing about "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" that I didn't love."--Cory Doctorow "Delightful." --Graham Joyce, "The Washington Post ""An irresistible page-turning novel." --"Newsweek ""One of the most thoughtful and fun reading experiences you're likely to have this year...There's so much largehearted magic in this book."--NPR "A jaunty, surprisingly old-fashioned fantasy about the places where old and new ways of accessing knowledge meet...["Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore"] cleverly uses the technological age in the service of its fantasy...Sloan's ultimate answer to the mystery of what keeps people solving Penumbra's puzzle is worth turning pages to find out."--Tess Taylor, "San Francisco Chronicle ""[A] winning literary adventure...Sloan grounds his jigsawlike plot with Big Ideas about the quest for permanence in the digital age."--Thom Geier, "Entertainment Weekly ""Fantastic...I loved diving into the world that Sloan created, both the high-tech fantasyland of Google and the ancient analog society. It's packed full of geeky allusions and wonderful characters, and is a celebration of books, whether they're made of dead trees or digits."--Jonathan H. Liu, "Wired," GeekDad "Sloan makes bits and bytes appear beautiful. ...The rebels' journey to crack the code--grappling with an ancient cult, using secret passwords and hidden doorways--will excite anyone's inner child."--"The Economist ""Man, is this book fun--especially for any book nerd who isn't in denial about living in the modern age. If you love physical books (the smell! The feel!) but wouldn't give up your iPhone for any reason, if you like puzzles and geeky allusions and bookish cults and quests, then this book is for you. It also glows in the dark."--Emily Temple, "Flavorpill ""What makes "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" so impressive is Sloan's great gift for storytelling and his cast of brilliant, eccentric characters. Think of this novel as part Haruki Murakami, part Dan Brown and part Joseph Cornell: a surreal adventure, an existential detective story and a cabinet of wonders at which to marvel."--Carmela Ciuraru, "Newsday ""Beguiling...The plot is as tight as nesting boxes, or whatever their digital equivalent...Sly and infectious."--Karen R. Long, "The Cleveland Plain Dealer ""Sloan isn't just exploring new ideas, but laying the groundwork for a new genre of literature. While the influence of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson is present, "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" is something all its own: a technocratic adventure where every riddle and puzzle is solved with very real gadgets, a humanizing reflection on technology that evokes the tone of a fairy tale, a brisk and brainy story imbued with such confidence that it will leave you with nothing but excitement about the things to come."--Kevin Nguyen, Grantland "In a time when actual books are filling up tag-sale dollar boxes, along with VHS tapes and old beepers, "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" reminds us that there is an intimate, adventurous joy in the palpable papery things called novels, and in the warm little secret societies we used to call 'bookstores.' Robin Sloan's novel is delightfully funny, provocative, deft, and even thrilling. And for reasons more than just nostalgia, I could not stop turning these actual pages."--John Hodgman "The love child of Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus" and Neal Stephenson's "Reamde," "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" is a hugely enjoyable story of friendship, living, and the lure of the mysterious. It's a good-hearted, optimistic book about the meeting of modern technology and medieval mystery, a tonal road map to a positive relationship between the old world and the new. It's a book that gets it. Plus, you know: cryptographic cults, vertical bookshops, hot geeks, theft, and the pursuit of immortality. I loved it. And yes, I too would freeze my head."--Nick Harkaway "Robin Sloan is a skilled architect, and "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore "is an ingeniously designed space, full of mysteries and codes. A clever, entertaining story that also manages to be a thought-provoking meditation on progress, information and technology. Full of intelligence and humor."--Charles Yu

"Wonderful . . . I had a great time reading ["Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore"], flew through it in one sitting . . . The reader gets that deeply satisfying feeling of entering a wholly created world, and looking on in wonder as that world gets created by the author's fearlessness and disregard for convention . . . It's a lot of fun, a real tour de force." --George Saunders, "Blip Magazine ""I love this book . . . It's a good-hearted, optimistic book about friendship and being alive and the lure of the mysterious. It's a book that shows you Google the way Google sees itself, and bookshops the way bookshops ought to be. It's a tonal roadmap to a positive relationship between the old world and the new. It's a book that gets it. Plus, you know: book cults, vertical bookshops, hot geeks, theft, and the pursuit of immortality. This book is in my emotional heartland." --Nick Harkaway, author of "The Gone-Away World" and "Angelmaker ""A clever, entertaining story that also manages to be a thought-provoking meditation on progress, information and technology. Full of intelligence and humor." --Charles Yu, "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe ""Irresistible." --"Newsweek ""A mysterious bookstore, puzzles, adventure, secret societies, quirky humor, new knowledge, old knowledge, and old-old knowledge. What else could you want in a book? Seriously." --Emily Temple, "Flavorpill"




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About the Paperback

Publisher Picador USA
Publish date 09/24/2013
Pages 288
ISBN-13 9781250037756
ISBN-10 1250037751
Language English

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