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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?
‘There is nothing about Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore that I didn’t love.’
‘A real tour de force [and] a beautiful fable…The reader is swept along by Sloan’s enthusiasm.’
‘Part love letter to books, part technological meditation, part thrilling adventure, part requiem… Eminently enjoyable, full of warmth and intelligence.’
‘A fable for the computer age, this jaunty colloquy, replete with pop-cultural references and pithy asides to the reader, celebrates the restorative power of friendship and the creative spirit in whatever form if manifests itself.'
‘Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore is an inventive Da Vinci Code bibliophilic romp. So visit Mr Penumbra’s “tall skinny bookstore” and enjoy Robin Sloan’s intriguing biblioverse.‘
‘Filled with crisp humor and weird but endearing characters… [A] delight, perfect for those who like a little magic with their meals.’
‘Sourdough is the story we all secretly dream about.’
‘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.’
‘Delightful… It’s equal measures techie and foodie fodder, a perfect parable for our times.’
‘As he did in Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan will have readers looking for magic in the mundane.’
‘How many novels can boast an obstreperous sourdough starter as a key character? A delightful and heartfelt read.’
‘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.’
‘Sloan’s comic but smart tone never flags, and Lois is an easy hero to root for.’
‘Through narrative and email correspondence, Sloan captures contemporary work environments, current reality, and future trends…[Sourdough] offers much to savor.’
‘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.’
‘[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.’
‘Sloan’s charming storytelling, a mix of magical realism, and a dash of fabulism make for a fun read. It’s dessert.’
‘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.’