Cover to Sourdough, the novel

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

If you like quirky characters, everyday magic, and carbs, I highly recommend you read Sourdough.


I ate up this novel like the loaf of bread it’s named after: with delight and gusto, and almost all in one sitting.

This quirky story weaves together a soft parody of San Francisco’s harried tech culture — offices with ping pong tables and catered lunches, where people sleep at their desks and choose to eat nutritive supplements to fuel their race to be ‘the first’ at something — with a deep adoration of food culture and, improbably, the minuscule microbes that create many of the most delicious things humans eat.

And it works.

While the premise is strange (it really is based on a sourdough starter) Sloan executes it in a way that makes the story flow naturally. I love that the ‘magic’ that drives it isn’t something supernatural, but a cousin to the everyday magic that lives in our pantries. The main characters are weird and lovable. I had fun learning alongside Lois as she delved into the way that sourdough is made, discovering how to care for the starter and how brick ovens bake and the like.

Some of the secondary characters that played important roles — like Jaina Mitra — felt a little flat and the story spiraled into a pretty weird place near the end, but I was already buckled in for the ride and most of the loose ends tied themselves up.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this fun, light story that kept me entertained and made me crave a fresh, thick slice of bread.

Buy Sourdough on Amazon, Indiebound — or borrow it from you local library!
More about the author on his website.

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