Sourdough by Robin Sloan

“There’s a living thing, a culture. I guess it’s more American to say ‘starter.” You mix the starter with the flour along with water and salt, and it makes gas, which makes the dough rise. It gives it a certain flavor, too.”  — Beoreg from Sourdough

Start with the essence of friendship, mix in culture, add a pinch of magic, flavor it with a dash of spunk, and you have the beginnings of an adventurous journey that will take the reader from big industry to big dough, the food variety.

Lois Clary is a single young woman, working in the tech industry, still a man’s world, as a software programmer in California.  Life has become repetitive for her, the same task at work, then home, only to get up the next day and do it all over again. There is some small comfort in the form of two brothers who run the local restaurant and catering service.  Sharing good food and pleasant company is her one bright spot in the day.

That is until the brothers must close their restaurant and return home to their home country. But the brothers have one last treat for Lois, one last delivery – a starter bag of culture for their sourdough bread.  Told to, “take care of it feed it, play it music and sing to it and bake with it,” she isn’t quite sure what to do with it.

Indeed, Lois soon finds herself learning to make bread. A bread so delicious, it might even open new opportunities that could alter her future. But is the bread really good enough to sell in the mysterious underground?

Well, it has certainly caught someone’s eye and Lois better be careful or her starter won’t be all she has to lose.

(Think of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club but with farmers and local merchants).

This magical, adventurous journey Sloan has written for readers to follow along and perhaps share similar circumstances with Lois.  Not to mention the potential for love, humor, and the art of questioning.  After reading Sloan’s second novel, I understand how fellow readers follow particular authors, not only subsequent standalone works but also series.  I’d say Sourdough sparked the beginnings of my journeys in the pursuit of upcoming and new releases of authors.

Robin Sloan, who previously wrote Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore released Sourdough in September of last year.

Formats Available:  Audiobook, Book, e-Book

Reviewed by Micah, St. Matthews Branch


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