Author: Robin Sloan
Publisher: MCD 2017
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Popsugar - Involving a Heist; I Love Libraries
Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her—feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it.
Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up.
When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?
Overall, I really enjoyed our book club selection this month. I loved Lois's adventure with the sourdough starter. I loved all the descriptions of the starter and the bread it created. I loved the relationships Lois cultivated at General Dexterity and the Marrow Fair. I even enjoyed hearing about the other residents of the Marrow Fair, especially Horace. What I didn't love was the weird pseudo-corporate espionage that happened in the last 30 pages or so. I didn't like the characters involved and I certainly didn't like the outcome. Plus the way it was written made the ending seem very forced and abrupt. I would have liked a bit more to draw the conflict out. Oh well. At least most of the book was very entertaining.
Next up on the TBR pile: