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Though I have certainly sold many, many copies of Robin Sloan’s first book Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, I had not had the pleasure of reading his work until I picked up Sourdough. Sourdough is the deeply charming story of Lois Clary, a software engineer who goes from a lonely, anxious wreck who subsists on a nutrient-rich drink called Slurry, to a curious, ambitious baker who turns out a sourdough bread that is as delicious as it is strange. I have not enjoyed a book like Sloan’s in quite some time—a novel that astounds you with the ordinary, that allows you to rediscover the joy of a life well-lived and well-loved, a novel, in other words, that is most interested in the magic that exists all around us. Sourdough tells us to go beyond the routine, the commonplace, the okay, because there are angels out there, and magic is always within reach.— From Lillian
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.