With exquisite intelligence and lyricism, Monica Youn's "Blackacre" is rooted in desire — more specifically, her very real desire for a biological child. She examines the body through the lens of the natural and the artificial and questions the meaning, the reasoning of the black acre (a legal term for a fictional plot) that is given to each of us. In each of the four sections, Youn draws on and is influenced by everything from 15th-century poetry to urban legends to film, creating a collection that more than deserved its place on the National Book Awards longlist for 2016.
Kelsey Westenberg, Roscoe Books, Chicago
"Shelftalker" highlights book suggestions from booksellers. Send your jpgs to firstname.lastname@example.org.