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Sam MunsonThe art of the literary profile is, if not dying, at least in some corporeal danger. Too often, it is a platform for inanities praiseful or damning, instead of what it ought to be: an examination of the mysterious third component of the relationship between book and reader, the person and personality of the author. James Campbell's new book, Syncopations—a collection of profiles, literary essays and reminiscences drawn primarily from the pages of The Guardian Review, The Times Literary Supplement and other British publications—suggests there's some life left in the form. Whether this impression stems more from Campbell's fluency and intimate tone of voice, or from his angled, trans-Atlantic vision of mostly American writers, is hard to say. Whatever the cause, Syncopations should interest any observer of postwar American letters.
—The New York Times