‘Sourdough is the story we all secretly dream about.’ Washington Post
From the author of the much-loved novel Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore comes a follow-up about a life-changing loaf of bread.
Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread.
Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive. Soon she is baking loaves daily and taking them to the farmer's market, where an exclusive close-knit club runs the show.
When Lois discovers another, more secret market, aiming to fuse food and technology, a whole other world opens up. But who are these people, exactly?
Robin Sloan is the author of Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. He splits his time between San Francisco and the internet.
First my stomach unclenched, and then my brain. I let loose a sigh that transformed into a ripping burp, which made me laugh out loud, alone, in my kitchen. I lifted the lone magnet on my refrigerator, allowed a sheet of shiny pizza coupons to fall to the floor, and stuck the new menu reverently in place.
‘Filled with crisp humor and weird but endearing characters... [A] delight, perfect for those who like a little magic with their meals." STARRED Review, Booklist
‘A beautiful, small, sweet, quiet book. It knows as much about the strange extremes of food as Mr. Penumbra did about the dark latitudes of the book community.’ National Public Radio
‘Delightful... It’s equal measures techie and foodie fodder, a perfect parable for our times.’ San Francisco Magazine
‘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
‘How many novels can boast an obstreperous sourdough starter as a key character? A delightful and heartfelt read.’ Library Journal
‘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
‘Sloan's comic but smart tone never flags, and Lois is an easy hero to root for.’ Kirkus Reviews
‘Through narrative and email correspondence, Sloan captures contemporary work environments, current reality, and future trends... [Sourdough] offers much to savor.’ Publishers Weekly
‘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.’ Fall Books Preview, The Miami Herald
‘[Sourdough] plunges through so much terrain: microbial nations, assimilation and tradition, embodied consciousness and the crisis of the tech industry, all without losing the light, sweet, ironic Sloanian voice familiar from Mr Penumbra's, a plot that makes the book a page-turner and a laugh-out-louder, with sweetness and romance and tartness and irony in perfect balance. What a great book, seriously.’ BoingBoing
‘Sloan's charming storytelling, a mix of magical realism, and a dash of fabulism make for a fun read. It's dessert.’ Dallas News
‘Part love letter to books, part technological meditation, part thrilling adventure, part requiem... Eminently enjoyable, full of warmth and intelligence.’ New York Times Book Review on Mr Penumbra
‘This novel does a superb job of capturing what life is like—lonely, exhausting, at times quite strange—working at a tech start-up in San Francisco…Utterly charming.’ Whimn
‘As with his first, bestselling novel, Robin Sloan had a great deal of fun. It comes through in his slightly delighted tone, his lilt and the way he laughs at himself…This relishing of language—and Sloan’s awareness of the reader—forms a helpful lens, allowing us to “hear” the interior Lois, the one who deserves a life much richer than robots and Tetra Paks of slurry.’ NZ Listener