Daniel Soar

Daniel Soar is an editor at the LRB.

I am Pagliacci: Lorrie Moore’s World

Daniel Soar, 2 November 2023

It’snot always easy to talk, but sometimes you have to try. Picture this: your brother is dying in a hospice, and you’ve come all the way to the city to see him – something you’ve perhaps resisted for a while – and all you want to do is cheer him up, be a little silly and light-hearted. In Lorrie Moore’s new novel, her fourth, Finn is a high-school...

One of​ the things you can pretty much guarantee about fiction is that it will have people in it. After all, there’s got to be someone telling the story: a narrative implies a narrator. But I challenge you to find a story – even the shortest – that doesn’t imply the presence of at least one other character too. Take this sixty-word wonder by Lydia Davis (it’s...

Think of S&M: McEwan’s Monsters

Daniel Soar, 6 October 2022

It must​ be tough to be an English novelist. Or at least a certain type of English novelist, of a certain English vintage, from a certain English background. There are duties to uphold, expectations to fulfil. It’s easy to be embarrassed to be English, embarrassed by privilege, entitlement and insular prejudice. It’s easy to feel guilt by association. Oddly, this means that the...


The Sixth Taste

9 September 2021

Daniel Soar writes: The dead get the last laugh. As Jordan Sand says, two people claimed to have written the infamous letter. One died in 2014 and can’t be interrogated. The other died four years later, at the age of 97, and can’t be interrogated again. But he – Howard Steel, or Howard Steel’s ghost – can be heard speaking on that episode of This American Life. In the voicemail he left, there’s...

The Sixth Taste

Daniel Soar, 9 September 2021

Foodis money. Or it can be, if you know how to transform it into profit. Ajinomoto Co. is Japan’s biggest producer of condiments and seasonings, with annual revenues of ¥1 trillion, or around $9 billion. Its most successful product by far – on shelves across East Asia since 1908 – is Aji-No-Moto, often sold in a little glass bottle with a trademark red label....

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