Everything Robin Sloan writes is a delight, and this book lives up to the charm of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. I was so entranced by protagonist Lois Clary's adventures with her bubbling sourdough starter that, after finishing this book, I immediately bought a copy of Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread and have been experimenting with baking bread in my own kitchen. Sloan's writing is just that magical. Recommended By Mary S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In his much-anticipated new novel, Robin Sloan does for the world of food what he did for the world of books in Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her — feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it.
Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she's providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer's market, and a whole new world opens up.
When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?
Leavened by the same infectious intelligence that made Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore such a sensation, while taking on even more satisfying challenges, Sourdough marks the triumphant return of a unique and beloved young writer.
"In his novel Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Sloan unraveled a mystery about a web designer who takes a job in a peculiar all-night Bay area book shop. New technology clashed, then melded, with classic history. Sourdough promises a similar sort of tech and analog mashup, in this case involving the food industry: a software engineer learns to bake bread and uncovers a secret underground market. We’re already hungry for it." The Miami Herald, Fall Books Preview
"Through narrative and email correspondence, Sloan captures contemporary work environments, current reality, and future trends... [Sourdough] offers much to savor." Publishers Weekly
"As he did in Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan will have readers looking for magic in the mundane." Nora Horvath, Real Simple
"Filled with crisp humor and weird but endearing characters... At once a parody of startup culture and a foodie romp... [A] delight, perfect for those who like a little magic with their meals." Booklist (Starred Review)
"A wild, geeky, flour-dusted ride through the oddball food and techie communities of San Francisco... A winning story that — like its namesake bread — carries a satisfying tang." Shelf Awareness
"Delightful... equal measures techie and foodie fodder, a perfect parable for our times." San Francisco Magazine
About the Author
Robin Sloan grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet.