Sneak Peak: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan
I have the privilege this week to feature Robin Sloan and his book, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. This is something I’d like to do more regularly on lifebythebooks, and I’m really grateful that Robin agreed to answering a few questions for me to bring to you.
Today’s sneak peak and tomorrow’s review will both involve Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and on Wednesday I will have the Author Q&A posted.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore originated from a short story written in 2009. I read both, and while there are a few spoilers from reading the story first, the novel definitely provides a unique experience from the story.
For my sneak peak, I wanted to offer the description of the bookstore. It’s the central location to the novel, and I’m sure that if it existed, it would be featured in all of the websites dedicated to bookshelf and/or library porn:
I pushed the bookstore’s glass door. It made a bell tinkle brightly up above, and I stepped slowly through. I did not realize at the time what an important threshold I had just crossed.
Inside: imagine the shape and volume of a normal bookstore turned up on its side. This place was absurdly narrow and dizzyingly tall, and the shelves went all the way up–three stories of books, maybe more. I craned my neck back (why do bookstores always make you do uncomfortable things with your neck?) and the shelves faded smoothly into the shadows in a way that suggested they might just go on forever.
The shelves were packed close together, and it felt like I was standing at the border of a forest–not a friendly California forest, either, but an old Transylvanian forest, a forest full of wolves and witches and dagger-wielding bandits all waiting just beyond moonlight’s reach. There were ladders that clung to the shelves and rolled side to side. Usually those seem charming, but here, stretching up into the gloom, they were ominous. They whispered rumors of accidents in the dark.