By Robin Sloan
MCD, 9780374203108, September 2017, 272pp.
The Short of It:
Food and technology collide in what Amazon calls a “paranormal, urban fantasy.”
The Rest of It:
Lois is a software engineer in San Francisco. Her department focuses on robotics, specifically robotic arms and what they can do. Although the work they are doing is groundbreaking, her department is stumped by the simple task of cracking an egg. To date, they’ve not been able to crack that code. Pun intended. The arm applies too much pressure or not enough.
Each day Lois goes to work to ponder this issue. Each day she returns home to an empty apartment. Until one day she orders from a restaurant that delivers the spiciest of soups and the most delicious sourdough bread. This soup and bread affects Lois in a deeply personal way. How can food make a person feel so good?
All is great until the two brothers who run the delivery service tell her that they are closing up shop to move to another country. Seeing the desperation in her face, they share their sourdough starter with her.
What Lois produces through trial and error is also magical in its own way. Each loaf contains a face, unlike any other loaf. Even though she is not a baker, she finds herself newly motivated to share this bread with the world.
You may remember Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Well, Sourdough is written by the same author. It’s very similar in feel so if you liked Mr. Penumbra then you will enjoy this one. As an urban fantasy, it’s quite fun but there is one part of the story that I had difficulty wrapping my brain around. Nevertheless, it was still a fun, easy read. I think it provides a little more to discuss that you would think.
I will caution you. If you read this, you will crave sourdough bread. This was torture for my Celiac self. So be sure to have some on hand with a thick slab of butter at the ready.
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