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In "Sourdough" Sloan does for the local food scene what he did for bookstores in "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore." Lois is a disaffected and disconnected Millennial working as a cog in a a San Francisco tech company when she is unexpectedly given a sort-of magical sourdough starter. That starts her down the road of baking (and the satisfying pleasure that comes from it) and the local food scene. There's a bit of mystery surrounding the starter, a bit of conflict with some of the other foodies Lois meets, and a bit of romance. In the end, especially if you have a bit of a baker inside you, it's a thoroughly delightful book. Just make sure you have access to some good sourdough bread afterward, because you will be craving it!— Melissa Fox
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.