by Renee Branum
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 10 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 12 Mar 2022
Random House UK, Vintage, Jonathan Cape
'Our speech is so full of falling. We fall down laughing, fall apart, fall away, we fall prey to things, fall from grace, fall in love. We fall down dead.'
One thing that the city of Prague is famous for is its recurring incidents of throwing men out of windows. The word for this is defenestration.
In 1895, Marta's great-great-grandfather Jiri was said to have given a gentle push to the back of a stonemason for having wronged him. The stonemason fell to his death and the family fled the Czech capital for the American Midwest, where they set up a new life.
So begins the story of Marta and her brother Nick, deeply interwoven twins haunted by the mysterious curse that has plagued their family for centuries, one that has doomed them to suffer various types of falls. And when Nick falls out of a window and ends up seriously injured, Marta embarks on a heart-breaking quest to find out whether or not his fall was intentional, and to stop her family from falling apart.
Grappling with family myths, sexual repression and mental illness, Defenestrate is a novel about the kinds of tales we tell ourselves and others in order to cope. With heartfelt and deeply-drawn characters, Renée Branum shows us how stories can shield us, and reveal and conceal life's secrets. From a major new voice in literary fiction, Defenestrate is a novel about belonging, and finding one's place in a world in which you are, quite literally, plummeting.