As anyone familiar with James Campbell’s columns in the Times Literary Supplement knows, the Scot is a critic of uncommonly wide interests in America. His latest essay collection solidifies the impression with pieces on writers as various as William Maxwell, Amiri Baraka, and Edmund White. Neither does he shy from juicy, gossipy tidbits, as “Updike’s Sex Village” and “Franzen, Oprah, and High Art” attest. All in all, he is a critic, to twist Henry James’s words, upon whom few writers are lost.
Syncopations: Beats, New Yorkers, and Writers in the Dark