Defenestrate

Renee Branum

Defenestrate
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Defenestrate

Renee Branum

A wildly inventive, exhilarating debut about a young woman confronting her ancestors' “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 falls apart in the wake of a revelation about Nick 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 window himself, Marta is forced to confront the truths she’s hidden from herself and her twin.

Through this poignant, exuberant exploration of all the ways there are to fall - from defenestration in nineteenth century Prague to the pratfalls of their childhood idol Buster Keaton, from falling in love to falling midflight from an airplane - Defenestrate is a stunning and deeply original debut. Grappling with family myths, sexual repression, and mental illness, Renee Branum shows us how stories reveal and conceal life’s secrets and how they affect one particular family as they try to protect one another from their true history.

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