After the rush of excitement I experienced reading Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, I was hoping for more of the same in his latest book, Sourdough. I mean, the back cover positions the book to be some sort of mystery surrounding San Francisco’s farmers markets, and while there was some of that, in general it was really just about Lois and her Clement Street starter.
I felt it was a very millennial book in that it involved a tech programmer who decides to quit her job to bake sourdough bread – something she’s never done in her life. I mean, that’s alright, really, it’s just that the story wasn’t even half as fun as Mr. Penumbra’s. Or challenging. Lois overcame obstacles easily, and at the end gives everything up to go run after a boy, almost like an afterthought.
And the somewhat bizarre Mr Marrow’s Market angle was going all okay apart from that bit at the end where the lambas cakes meets the clement street starter and explodes into a giant edible mushroom-like structure that could be seen from miles away. I mean, what? If you’re going to go really weird, go really weird from the start, and don’t sneak it in at the last minute hoping it’ll sound plausible.
If there’s anything good that the book left me with is a handful of quotes for my collection, and the sudden curiousity about starting a starter of my own. And yes, I wouldn’t mind a slice of warm sourdough bread with unsalted butter please thankyouverymuch.