‘Defenestrate’: Falling for novelist Renée Branum
This week during The Write Question, Lauren chats with Renée Branum, author of Defenestrate (Bloomsbury Publishing), a story of familial alienation and grief, of one family’s long-told lore and tightly-guarded love—told in a series of vignettes, or short chapters. Through the eyes of Marta, twin sister to Nick, Defenestrate is the fragmented history of a family curse—of inevitable defenestration—as well as fictional and factual, historical, biblical, and mythical meditations on falling (Buster Keaton’s pratfalls; falling in love; falling from an airplane, becoming legend, etc.). Defenestrate is a witty, beautifully-crafted debut that centers storytelling—how we tell stories, and why.
Renée Branum’s stories and essays have appeared in several publications including The Georgia Review, Narrative Magazine, The Gettysburg Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Lit Hub. Her story “As the Sparks Fly Upward” was included in Best American Nonrequired Reading’s 2019 anthology. She 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. She was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts 2020 Prose Fellowship to aid in the completion of her first novel, Defenestrate. She currently lives in Cincinnati where she is pursuing a PhD in Fiction Writing.
Renée Branum recommends:
The stand-up comedy of Tom Segura, Nate Bargatze, Kyle Kinane, Tig Nataro, Maria Bamford, and Morgan Murphy
The fiction of Bohumil Hrabal (start with Too Loud a Solitude, Harpervia)
Why Did I Ever? by Mary Robison
Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell (Counterpoint Press)
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (HarperCollins)
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, and Other Stories by William H. Gass (New York Review of Books)
Lauren Korn recommends:
“My Own Personal Herakles” by Renée Branum (LitHub)
Float by Anne Carson (Alfred A. Knopf)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Vintage Books)
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