comment 1

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Over the weekend, I gobbled up Robin Sloan’s new novel, Sourdough. The narrator is a woman who creates program code for robot arms. She orders soup and sandwiches daily from a restaurant with no address, and when the owners, who come from an exotic and fictional homeland, have to leave the United States due to expired visas, they give her an unusual gift – their very special sourdough starter.

Although our narrator, Lois Clary, has zero baking or cooking experience, she does the only reasonable thing. She learns to bake bread. Adventures ensue, and we have a novel – a charming and delightful novel.

The book brings to mind my own experience capturing a sourdough starter (or monster as I called it), a number of years ago. It made the tastiest bread. I kept it in a jar on top of the fridge and I would feed it every day or two. For the year or so I kept the monster going, I made quite a bit of bread. All those folks out there avoiding gluten would be horrified, I’m sure.

One day, something changed and my normally mild-mannered monster went rogue. It expanded up and out the holes in the lid of the jar, across the top of the fridge, down the side and halfway across the kitchen floor, when I walked in and destroyed it before it ate the house.

I suppose the novel is having some fun at the expense of foody-nerds in the SF area of California. Lois gets involved with an experimental market and becomes immersed in a delightfully obsessive food sub-culture. The book is a page-turner, and it’s funny and thoroughly enjoyable to read.

I suspect it’s impossible to read this book without wanting to first eat some seriously good bread, then hunker down and bake your own. I’m thinking that when we return from Vietnam in January, I might just capture a new monster and work on making a really great loaf.

1 Comment so far

  1. Thanks for the great review! I must read this book–particularly because I do bake sourdough goodies at home. I’m giving away starter all this month, so if you decide you’re ready for a new monster…

Have your say...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s