Fall’s most promising new books offer a complete getaway—to places both real and imagined. The Big Green Tent (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Ludmila Ulitskaya’s ambitious, newly translated Russian novel, tracks the lives of three young Muscovites from the death of Stalin to the fall of the Iron Curtain. Garth Risk Hallberg’s page-turning mystery City on Fire (Knopf) is set in the New York City blackout of 1977, where he examines the lives of the fortunate and the frustrated. Just as riveting is Mary Gaitskill’s intimate The Mare (Pantheon), a love story about Velvet, an abused Dominican girl, and the scarred horse she learns to tame. Any traveler will enjoy Rick Moody’s bizarre and often hilarious Hotels of North America (Little, Brown), the fictional “writings” of an eccentric hotel reviewer. And lastly, Patti Smith returns, after the success of Just Kids, with musings on her peripatetic life in a new memoir, M Train (Knopf).
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