Editor’s Note

“Not quite what it seems...”

The difference between Mr. Penumbra’s bookstore and a Barnes & Noble is, well, everything. Clay Jannon works the night shift, and soon realizes that, as with most things, he shouldn’t judge the contents of the bookstore by its cover. Follow Clay as he tries to unlock the mysteries of the 24-hour bookstore and the strange cast of characters who pay him a visit every night.
Scribd Editor

From the Publisher

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.

Published: Macmillan Publishers on
ISBN: 9780374708832
List price: $9.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.

Related Articles

TIME
2 min read

Four Roads Diverge in a Wood

SARAH BEGLEY CERTAIN BOOKS LEAVE READERS FEELING THEY KNOW EVERY MINUTE detail of a character’s inner life, as if they were lifelong companions and daily confidants. Paul Auster’s massive new novel, 4 3 2 1, is such a book. The concept behind the 866-page tome boils down to one life, lived four ways. By the end of the first chapter a boy named Archie Ferguson has been born to a New Jersey couple in 1947. Subsequent chapters cycle through four versions of how his life plays out: he grows up in different New Jersey towns, attends different schools and embarks on different adventures and misadv
TIME
1 min read

Crimes of the Heart

S.B. Like many of his novels, Spanish author Javier Marías’ new book, Thus Bad Begins, isn’t exactly a mystery, though it is mysterious. Here, the 65-year-old perennial Nobel favorite tells the story of Juan de Vere, a young man working for a film director, Eduardo Muriel. The older man assigns his apprentice the task of finding out a secret about a longtime friend. Meanwhile, de Vere is intrigued by the cold relationship between Muriel and his depressed wife Beatriz—at some point in their past, she did something unforgivable, also a secret, and de Vere wants to find out what. Marías (The In
Literary Hub
1 min read

Alexander McCall Smith: In Praise of W.H. Auden

Alexander McCall Smith, best known for the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, sees his latest book, My Italian Bulldozer, hit American shelves today. What was the first book you fell in love with? When I was a very young boy I had a book called Ginger’s Adventures. It was all about a dog that fled from a life of pampered luxury to go and live on a farm. I loved it when the dog made it to the country. I recently found a copy of this book and was delighted to discover that I remembered virtually every word of it. Name a classic you feel guilty about never having read? I must read Moby Dick.