Sourdough: a Novel
By Robin Sloan
MCD, 2017. 272 pgs. Fiction
Robin Sloan's new novel, Sourdough, is a delightful blend of magical realism, quirky characters, high tech, and a very special sourdough start. Lois Clary works at a San Francisco tech company where many of the programmers exist by eating (actually slurping) a nutritive gel named Slurry. She discovers a local restaurant that delivers sourdough bread and delicious spicy food. When the restaurant closes and the owners leave Lois their sourdough start to tend she begins to bake. Mastering the magic of mixing flour, water and sourdough starter, she shares the delicious bread with co-workers and then looks for a venue to sell bread through one of San Francisco's many farmers markets. She ends up with a stall at a high-tech food emporium where the vendors are all experimenting with innovative food formulations. As the new market nears its opening day, complications arise when Lois researches the history of her unique sourdough starter and begins to understand its microbial complexity.
Sloan's novel is both fluffy and fulfilling. You will want to have a loaf of really good bread on hand when you sit down to read it. SH