No One Is Here Except All of Us

No One Is Here Except All of Us

3.5 16
by Ramona Ausubel
     
 

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In 1939, the families in a remote Jewish village in Romania feel the war close in on them. Their tribe has moved and escaped for thousands of years- across oceans, deserts, and mountains-but now, it seems, there is nowhere else to go. Danger is imminent in every direction, yet the territory of imagination and belief is limitless. At the suggestion of an eleven-year

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Overview

In 1939, the families in a remote Jewish village in Romania feel the war close in on them. Their tribe has moved and escaped for thousands of years- across oceans, deserts, and mountains-but now, it seems, there is nowhere else to go. Danger is imminent in every direction, yet the territory of imagination and belief is limitless. At the suggestion of an eleven-year-old girl and a mysterious stranger who has washed up on the riverbank, the villagers decide to reinvent the world: deny any relationship with the known and start over from scratch. Destiny is unwritten. Time and history are forgotten. Jobs, husbands, a child, are reassigned. And for years, there is boundless hope. But the real world continues to unfold alongside the imagined one, eventually overtaking it, and soon our narrator-the girl, grown into a young mother-must flee her village, move from one world to the next, to find her husband and save her children, and propel them toward a real and hopeful future. A beguiling, imaginative, inspiring story about the bigness of being alive as an individual, as a member of a tribe, and as a participant in history, No One Is Here Except All Of Us explores how we use storytelling to survive and shape our own truths. It marks the arrival of a major new literary talent.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ausubel’s debut novel about survival and storytelling begins in 1939 as nine Jewish families that make up the northern Romanian village of Zalischik decide—as war threatens to consume all of Europe—to “start over” by retreating into an imaginary, alternative history and remaking their world. Aided by a mysterious pogrom survivor who appears in their village, these families reinvent themselves, reassigning relationships, occupations, even ages, believing against reason that this new version of events will keep them safe, for, they hope, “this world is about hope more than events.” At the center of the effort and the novel is Lena, the 11-year-old daughter of the village cabbage farmer, who must maintain the thread of narrative even as she is adopted by her aunt and uncle, married to the banker’s unlucky son, Igor, and becomes a mother. When the outside world finally intrudes on the village idyll, Lena must accept that her duty is “to survive to tell what happens,” and she sets out on a journey that will deprive her of everything but her will to keep telling. Despite hints of beauty and meaning, the novel’s combination of magical realism and traumatic history feels forced, undermining its theme of the power of storytelling. Agent: Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Fantastical and ambitious . . . infused with faith in the power of storytelling . . . Light and tenderness persevere-in a shining moon, in a candle still aglow, in a mother's embrace of her child."-The New York Times Book Review

"Debut novelist Ausubel casts a vibrant, dreamlike spell in this tale of a remote Romanian Village whose citizens try to save themselves from the Holocaust by reinventing their own history."-Marie Claire

"Romanian Jews in 1939 reinvent their own reality in this inspiring novel about the power of community and imagination."-O, the Oprah Magazine

"Ramona Ausubel's debut, No One Is Here Except All of Us captures the magical group-think of a Romanian village that retreats into an imaginary reality at the outbreak of war."-Vogue

"In her debut novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us, Ramona Ausubel breaks new ground, with a unique prose style that weaves a classic immigrant tale into a world of dreams. The town of Zalischick and its citizens re-write their own story, filling it with magic, hope, and a determination in the face of destruction to find new ways to begin."-Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

"Here is a world created out of the most curious and beautiful remnants of our own: opera, suitcases, letters, rivers, daughters, strangers and shovels. Ramona Ausubel cracks open the very idea of a book and fills its shell with a thing glimmering, thrilling and new."-Samantha Hunt, author on The Invention of Everything Else

"A special work of the imagination, an original gift, dark and light, and Ramona Ausubel colors it all with a glowing wisdom."-Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies

"Beautifully written and alive in story, fascinating characters, and place.- You can't help but compare Ausubel's book with Marquez, with her fantastic vision of history and invention, the small village dreaming the vast world, but she is her own new fresh voice."-Brad Watson, author of The Heaven of Mercury

"A wise, compassionate book that even in its darkest turns uplifts."-Christine Schutt, author of Florida and All Souls

"An absorbing and unpredictable novel that manages to encompass a wide geographic and emotional range. . . . Ausubel's original voice combines fresh, clear observation and Old testament grandeur."-The New Yorker

"No One Is Here Except All of Us contains so many achingly beautiful passages, it's as if language itself is continually striving to be a refuge. . . . If a book can be said to have a consciousness, the consciousness here is infinitely tender and soulful, magical and true. It's the kind of God we wish for."-San Francisco Chronicle

"Ramona Ausubel's first novel, "No One Is Here Except All of Us," is a poetic fable about a part of history after which some people say poetry is an obscenity… Ausubel's fable-like tone is effective in creating a sensation of tale and dream. For conveying the full horror of the events surrounding the Holocaust, it is less so, but this isn't what she's trying to do. Instead, she is comfortable reshaping, in a safe time and place, stories that were handed to her, using her rhetorical and narrative skill to create something that can be carried without cutting the one who carries it."-Minneapolis Star Tribune

Library Journal
When danger threatens, would that we could simply change reality's rules. That's what one little Romanian village tries to do in 1939, as war thunders on the horizon. At the suggestion of an 11-year-old girl and a stranger who's washed into their midst, the townsfolk decide that they can hold danger at bay by using their imagination; they completely remake their lives by throwing out everything they once knew, reassigning jobs and even spouses, and forgetting history altogether. It works for a while, but eventually our heroine grows up and must leave the village's parameters to save her husband and children. A wonderfully fresh and inventive premise replicating exactly what literature can do, and award-winning debut author Ausubel reputedly writes with warmth and flare. I'm excited about this one.
Kirkus Reviews
A bittersweet fable of war and survival set in a Romanian shtetl. Like Chagall's art, charming or cloying depending on taste, Ausubel's fanciful novel employs an intensely imaginative style both to evoke Zalischik, a remote Jewish settlement in 1939, and also to fuel her story. As news of the encroaching anti-Semitic terrors filters into the village via the horrific experience of a half-drowned stranger, the community tries to hold the world at bay with its imagination while cutting itself off from external contact. The narrator, 11-year-old Lena, must endure a parallel delusion. Given by her loving parents to her barren aunt and uncle, she is pushed rapidly through the stages of childhood again as her partly-deranged new parents teach her to talk and walk, then arrange marriage to Igor, the banker's son. Happiness and children follow, but the village's isolation can't last. After Igor is taken prisoner, Lena flees into the woods where her baby dies and farmers offer her an impossible choice. Returning to Zalischik where she learns the fate of her people, she finally turns to a future in the New World. Ausubel's sustained, idiosyncratic take on the Holocaust is double-edged, alternating affecting heartache with sentimental poetic overkill. Opinion may be divided, but there's an undeniable element of talent here.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594487941
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
02/02/2012
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Ron Carlson
A special work of the imagination, an original gift, dark and light, and Ramona Ausubel colors it all with a glowing wisdom. (Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies)
Danzy Senna
In her strange and lovely debut novel, Ramona Ausubel tells (slyly, sideways) of the horrors of war: A Romanian Jewish community dreams up a collective delusion about the world they live in. Rather than resist or run from events too insane to be real, they construct an elaborate game of make-believe which works, until it doesn't. I was unsettled and moved by this tale of the human imagination—its force, its failure and its regeneration. (Danzy Senna, author of You are Free)
Christine Schutt
A wise, compassionate book that even in its darkest turns uplifts. (Christine Schutt, author of Florida and All Souls)
Samantha Hunt
Here is a world created out of the most curious and beautiful remnants of our own: opera, suitcases, letters, rivers, daughters, strangers and shovels. Ramona Ausubel cracks open the very idea of a book and fills its shell with a thing glimmering, thrilling and new. (Samantha Hunt, author on The Invention of Everything Else)
Brad Watson
Beautifully written and alive in story, fascinating characters, and place. You can't help but compare Ausubel's book with Marquez, with her fantastic vision of history and invention, the small village dreaming the vast world, but she is her own new fresh voice. (Brad Watson, author of The Heaven of Mercury)
From the Publisher
"No One Is Here Except All of Us contains so many achingly beautiful passages, it's as if language itself is continually striving to be a refuge. . . . If a book can be said to have a consciousness, the consciousness here is infinitely tender and soulful, magical and true. It's the kind of God we wish for.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Ramona Ausubel's first novel, "No One Is Here Except All of Us," is a poetic fable about a part of history after which some people say poetry is an obscenity… Ausubel's fable-like tone is effective in creating a sensation of tale and dream. For conveying the full horror of the events surrounding the Holocaust, it is less so, but this isn't what she's trying to do. Instead, she is comfortable reshaping, in a safe time and place, stories that were handed to her, using her rhetorical and narrative skill to create something that can be carried without cutting the one who carries it.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
 

Hannah Tinti
In her debut novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us, Ramona Ausubel breaks new ground, with a unique prose style that weaves a classic immigrant tale into a world of dreams. The town of Zalischick and its citizens re-write their own story, filling it with magic, hope, and a determination in the face of destruction to find new ways to begin. (Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief)

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Meet the Author

Ramona Ausubel is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of California, Irvine. She has been published in The New Yorker, One Story, The Paris Review Daily, and Best American Fantasy. Ausubel is the recipient of the Glenn Schaeffer Award for fiction, and was a finalist for the Pushcart Prize. Shel lives in California. To learn more about Ramona Ausubel, please visit www.ramonaausubel.com.

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No One Is Here Except All of Us 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
3amreader More than 1 year ago
A village simply decouples itself from Europe in 1939. This novel explores big subjects - history, identity, nature, war, childhood - through the life of the village, as if Brigadoon floated away from World War II. About 320 pages long, the book drifts gently at first, and then courses along from about page 190 to the end in some of the best contemporary story-telling and writing I have read. Might be a book that will become a classic.
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
"There is always a story. No matter what we do, it can't help but unfold" No One Is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel is the most moving book I have read in a long time.   I grabbed it from the library after Leah @ Books Speaks Volumes raved about it, and I was not disappointed. The small Romanian village of Zalischik is isolated from the rest of the country geographically.  When a stranger is found, still alive, in their river, with a horrific tale of WWII tragedy, the town takes 11-year-old Lena's advice to begin the world again.  What does this mean?  The villagers ban together, "forget" and get rid of old world things, and start their lives over.  This leads to some wonderful and some very tragic experiences.   But what happens when the bubble bursts?  When the villagers can no longer pretend that they are truly isolated in a new world?   Ramona Ausubel is a beautiful writer, sometimes cryptic and odd, with writing filled with gorgeous metaphors.   The writing is emotional.  I felt so connected to the characters.   No One Is Here Except All of Us is mournful, beautiful, like a song that fills you with melancholy and brings tears to your eyes.    Thank you for reading,  Rebecca @ Love at First Book
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel is a fic­tional book tak­ing place dur­ing World War II. The book fol­lows a small group of Jew­ish vil­lagers who lives in a town on a river bank. In a remote Jew­ish vil­lage, located on a river bank, the war is clos­ing in on them. After thou­sands of years of mov­ing, escap­ing and being expelled sud­denly, in 1939, it seems that there is nowhere to go. The answer to the village's dilemma comes from an eleven year old girl and a mys­te­ri­ous stranger - they will rein­vent the world. No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausube is a very lyri­cal and poetic book. The story flows, is unique and fas­ci­nat­ing. Most of the time I read the book I felt as if I, or the pro­tag­o­nist, were dream­ing, how­ever, upon read­ing the author's note it turned out that many of the events are based on what Ms.Ausubel's great grand­mother expe­ri­enced dur­ing World War II. The premise of the book is inter­est­ing, some­thing I haven't read yet. At first it was hard for me to process the story, I'm just too log­i­cal, but the more I read, the eas­ier it go and I started to let go and enjoy the story more and more. Ms. Ausubel man­aged to cre­ate a world within a world through her char­ac­ters which sucked me into as well. I would almost be tempted to cat­e­go­rize this book under "magic", but I wouldn't go as far and nei­ther does the book itself. With­out giv­ing any­thing away, I was sur­prised by the end­ing, which is not sappy or the manda­tory feel-good type we come to expect. Even if you wouldn't like the story, you'd love the prose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The weirdest book that I have read about a group of people during WWII and the losses they shared, the deaths , and trying to remember their faith. I really didnt enjoy and was the hardest 200 pages to read. Not because of rthe subjecy matter, but the way the matter was written. A sixth grader could have done as well. I read a lot. Generally, a book every day or two. I couldnt keep on track. The book was free and you could tell.
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MEOOHMY More than 1 year ago
Since it was meant as a word-of-mouth story it is not the easiest read out there but worth the effort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has to be one of the worst books I have ever tried to read. Don't waste your money!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting concept but becomes meaningless at the end.
460Ground More than 1 year ago
A terrible book. Poorly written and childishly done. Character development was non-existent. The only reason I kept reading was it was a book club choice. I was hoping that all the characters would quickly die so the book would be over.