Advent 1: Book Review: Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

In mid-November I finished reading Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store.

It’s a wonderful novel for me. Puzzles, books, technology, glow in the dark dust cover, likeable narrator and a satisfying resolution. (Notice I said satisfying resolution rather than a happy/sad ending. There’s nothing worse than being left…)

Nick Harkaway says: [It’s] a good-hearted, enjoyable book about the meeting of modern technology and medieval mystery, a tonal road map to the 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.

The novel is impossibly charming and I like a strong, clear narrator in a story. If I’m going to be listening to a narrator for a while I like to get along with them. The narrator, Jay, is funny and knowledgeable but he’s also charming, he’s a failure but he’s able to laugh at himself and pokes fun at the world around him too. He’s the kind of guy you want to call you up to go for coffee and a chat and then without realising you’re sucked into his madcap adventures.

I don’t want to talk too much about the story in case I spoil it for you but it is suffice to say: seek this book out, borrow it from a library or buy it! I really enjoyed it and hope you do too.

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