Sourdough by Robin Sloan
Published by: MacMillan Audio on September 5th, 2017
Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Food and Drink
Source: Borrowed from the library
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Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
Review: This was a rather interesting read (or listen I should say). I enjoyed his other book Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and head great things about this one. I opted for the audiobook over the physical copy so I can listen to it while working.
The novel begins with us getting to know the main character Lois who begins working at a startup company in Silicon Valley. The workload is causing her stress and she’s living off of these Slurry drinks that provide nutrition without eating/cooking. She then finds this takeout menu and orders from these two brothers. She becomes obsessed with the sourdough bread and orders it almost every day. Then one day the brothers have to leave the city/country and they decide to leave their “number one eater” their sourdough starter.
Lois who barely uses her kitchen herself decides to start baking sourdough. She masters it quite quickly and she begins giving it away to colleagues and neighbours and makes quite a stir in the baking community. That’s where the “normalcy” ends with this novel and you’re brought into this magical realism world centered around this specific starter which I had not expected to happen and it confused me when it first began.
There is other narratives within the book which I think are emails about the 2 brothers culture and emails or voicemails from the Slurry company to Lois which doesn’t really execute well via audiobook.
Who knew a book about a robotics startup and a sourdough starter would make an intriguing novel.
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This sounds interesting — not sure if I’m entirely sold on it, but I did like Mr. Penumbra a lot so maybe?