Defenestrate: Book summary and reviews of Defenestrate by Renee Branum

Defenestrate

by Renee Branum

Defenestrate by Renee Branum X
Defenestrate by Renee Branum
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 25, 2022
    240 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

An exuberant, wildly inventive debut about a young woman fascinated by her ancestors' legendary "falling curse" and trying to keep her own family from falling apart.

Marta and her twin brother Nick have always been haunted and fascinated by an ancestral legend that holds that members of their family are doomed to various types of falls. And when their own family collapses in the wake of a revelation and a resulting devastating fight with their Catholic mother, the twins move to Prague, the city in which their "falling curse" began. There, Marta and Nick try to forge a new life for themselves. But their ties to the past and each other prove difficult to disentangle, and when they ultimately return to their midwestern home and Nick falls from a balcony himself, Marta is forced to confront the truths they've hidden from each other and themselves.

Ingeniously and unforgettably narrated by Marta as she reflects on all the ways there are to fall--from defenestration in nineteenth century Prague to the pratfalls of her childhood idol Buster Keaton, from falling in love to falling midflight from an airplane--Defenestrate is a deeply original, gorgeous novel about the power of stories and the strange, malleable bonds that hold families together.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Branum makes excellent use of the fragmented structure of her debut novel...A serious story, luminously told." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[Q]uirky and poignant...Moody and descriptive rather than plot-driven, Branum's narrative jumps blithely through time without missing a step. While readers may guess the secrets Marta is careful to conceal from herself, the collage of striking scenes and reflections offers frequent delights. Readers willing to go out on a limb will find much to savor." - Publishers Weekly

"Written in sweeping prose rife with allegory (many unbelievable real-life falls told here), Branum's first novel is an honest, beautiful tale of fierce sibling love." - Booklist

"Gorgeously written and imaginative, Defenestrate is a beautiful novel about the family stories we tell and how they echo on through generations. Rich and intimate, this novel will stay with me." - Annie Hartnett, author of Rabbit Cake and Little Animals

"Renée Branum writes with exceptional wisdom and tenderness about inheritance, obsession, and the power of storytelling as a means of understanding who we are. As family secrets are revealed, Defenestrate builds to a symphonic, exhilarating end that embraces uncertainty alongside the miracle of surviving the greatest of falls." - Sanaë Lemoine, author of The Margot Affair

"Branum's prose lights up the imagination, every line a discovery and a pleasure. Beyond simple elegance or precision, she weaves sense and simile so stunningly, you have to throw your hands up and say "damn!" Defenestrate is both a transporting story, and a poetic reflection on family myths, death and danger, creation, self preservation, and the great free-fall of life. I was constantly thrilled by the beauty and insight of her words, and, at the same time, ever on the precipice of that titular drop, the one that's always just about to happen, the one we all know from childhood dreams." - Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee and Refuge

This information about Defenestrate shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Renée Branum has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Montana and an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Narrative Magazine, The Gettysburg Review, Brevity, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Best American Nonrequired Reading, among others. She was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Prose Fellowship in 2020. She currently lives in Cincinnati, where she is pursuing a PhD in Fiction.

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