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
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