by Robin Sloan
Clay Jannon is slowly establishing himself as a savvy web designer in San Francisco, designing the website for a chain of cafes specialising in New York style bagels and good coffee on the West Coast. But then the recession kicks in. In the economic downturn, the Bagel Chain owners sell out, figuratively and literally, which leaves Clay out of work. In his search for economic stability, Clay serendipitously chances upon an odd book store run by an unusual man where strange happenings are a daily occurrence.
Every paragraph in this book is constructed with exhaustingly clever and witty prose. Sloan’s writing is accessible and intelligent but not in an elite literary way. it draws the reader in and plugs them directly into the narratives conduit. Does it electrify you? no, not really, but it has a light tone that contrasts with the presumably deep conspiratorial plot.
Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore is a funny, thought provoking, enjoyable, and utterly clever page turner The missing one star in my rating is due to the ending feeling a little too anti-climactic. Too pedestrian in its landing of the narrative and didn’t leave me wondering past the last page. Nonetheless, Robin Sloan is a ridiculously talented writer. His prose is fresh, modern, and original. I look forward to his future work and would love to see a film adaptation by the likes of Wes Anderson.
Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore