“Citizen,” by Claudia Rankine. Searing, brilliant, true: poetry and essay conjoined at the heart. Threaded through with powerful art by Carrie Mae Weems, Wangechi Mutu, John Lucas and others, “Citizen” becomes artifact and evidence as Rankine confronts the trope of racial invisibility embedded in our “shared” history, language and culture. Whether channeling the broken voices of Hurricane Katrina survivors or unpacking the ubiquitous, casual racism of white “peers,” there’s a pervasive sense of incredulity, always and forever choked by reality.

Shelftalkers is an occasional feature of recommendations by booksellers. This one comes from McNally-Jackson Bookstore in New York. Send jpgs to books@startribune.com.