No One Is Here Except All of Us

No One Is Here Except All of Us

Book - 2012
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From the award-winning author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and the new story collection, Awayland .

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.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2012.
ISBN: 9781594486494
Branch Call Number: AUS
Characteristics: 328 pages ; 24 cm


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Nov 30, 2016

I found the language impossible to get into. I couldn't finish more than a page or 2.

Nov 28, 2014

I didn't enjoy this and couldn't make it past the first 100 pages, or so. There was a particular scene of a woman attempting to breast feed an 11-year-old girl which abruptly stopped all my last ditch efforts to continue reading. I just couldn't believe that, I couldn't see how the situation the village was in (dreadful and horrifying though it was) could lead to a traumatising event like trying to force breast feed a near-teenager.

Oct 05, 2013

I feel terrible saying this, but I did not enjoy this book. Perhaps I don't have a very good imagination, but even as a folklore story, it seemed unbelievable, and left me very, very sad. I think had my expectations not been set on what I assumed would be a recounting of the second World war, I may have liked it more.

Sep 26, 2012

Did not finish this book! I found it too slow...

Aug 25, 2012

I admit I could not get into this book and stopped reading after the first couple of chapters. The other comments make me think I should try again. Probably not, because there are so many other books and so little time. Try this one and judge for yourself.

Jul 24, 2012

It took me a while to get into this book – partly because it wasn’t what I expected, partly because I feared that a book set in World War II would be emotionally harrowing. It was, it wasn’t, it didn’t matter after a while because the superb language swept me up and away into the story. Not your average tale-telling, but utterly riveting and rich in emotional depth.

ksoles Mar 26, 2012

“No One is Here Except All of Us’’ opens in 1939 in the isolated Romanian outpost of Zalischik, where nine families, apprised of the war soon to envelop them, decide to reinvent the world. But, as the 11-year-old narrator, Lena, points out, “[l]iving in the new world would not turn out to be that different from living in the old one.’’ Thus, the reinvention ultimately becomes an indulgent game of make-believe.

Ausubel certainly has a striking eye for detail and writes in luminous prose but her characters often behave in ways that are psychologically dubious. Spirited and intelligent Lena, for example, goes willingly when her parents give her away to a childless aunt and uncle and complies when her aunt insists she behave like an infant. She later marries a callow boy incapable of shouldering adult responsibility.

When the war finally invades Zalischik, Ausubel captures the ensuing chaos with piercing lucidity. The narrative then splinters: Lena's husband ends up lazing around Sardinia while Lena herself flees from the village and starves with her two sons as they wander forests and farmland. Eventually, through another betrayal of character, Lena seeks out a second new world in America. On her passage, a fellow Jew informs her that Hitler has killed himself, the camps have been liberated, the war is over. “ ‘I don’t know what those things are," she admits.Here, Ausubel powerfully proves that Lena is a refugee not just from her family and home, but from the larger calamity of history itself.

As a stylist, Ausubel astounds readers with her ambitious nod both to her family history and to the rich tradition of Jewish fabulists. But her most affecting prose comes not in flights of imagination, but in those passages when her characters confront the crushing power of the real.

LMcShaneCLE Mar 07, 2012

Very stylized--and works the Jewish mysticism mined by so many authors. I did not get engaged in this story--Book of the Fathers by Miklos Vamos is more successful in this genre.

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