Snap Judgment: Books

--Malcolm Jones

Garbo: Portraits From Her Private Collection By Scott Reisfield and Robert Dance
Greta Garbo made only 26 movies before retiring and brilliantly perpetuating a myth that continues unabated. Now, timed to the centennial of her birth, comes this stunning com-pilation of photos of that face. The Swedish sphinx's contract specified that she receive an original print of every promo photo taken. Thus the book is filled with beautiful portraits by such Hollywood masters as George Hurrell and Clarence Sinclair Bull, as well as rare early photos. Seems we still can't leave her alone.
--Nicki Gostin

Shalimar the Clown By Salman Rushdie
His latest novel is a return for Rushdie--to the Indian Subcontinent, to the epic canvas, to the virtues of cultural mixing and, thankfully, to form. He alights this time in Kashmir, the Himalayan paradise ravaged by the conflict between India and Pakistan. Through the charming U.S. Ambassador Max Ophuls--who has an affair with a Kashmiri beauty and is later slain by her jihadist husband--Rushdie traces the defeat of a world of openness and multiplicity by one of absolutes. His last novel, "Fury," foundered on small-bore fripperies. "Shalimar" swells to fill the greater tragic frame carved by 9/11. Its ambition is large, and more than largely fulfilled.
--Nisid Hajari