Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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

Image from
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.

This was a light, fun read. There were plenty of pop culture references, book store nostalgia, and funny internal monologues to go around. The characters were interesting (if sometimes a bit one-dimensional) and the mystery itself was intriguing. While I don't believe this will be one of the great pieces of literature people will still be talking about years from now, it is highly entertaining and will make you suspend belief for a few hours while you are lost between its covers. And sometimes that's exactly what we need.

3.5 stars out of 5

1 comment:

  1. There is definitely a time and place for a purely entertaining read!