No One Is Here Except All Of Us
By Ramona Ausubel
Completed February 3, 2012
In a small village in Romania, a group of Jewish residents lived in relative harmony. Their village was on a small peninsula where a tiny strip of land connected it to the mainland. One evening, as they gathered for prayer, they witnessed a plane bomb the other side of the mountain. War had finally arrived in their corner of Romania. Bewildered, they weren’t sure what to do. They had read newspapers and heard radio reports about Jews being rounded up and sent to camps. Fearing the same fate, the village listened to the voice of a 11-year-old girl, Lena, who suggested they just start over – to wake up the next day to a new world. And for more than three years, this tactic successfully protected them from the atrocities of World War II.
It takes a tremendous suspension of belief to read No One Is Here Except All Of Us. You, as the reader, must commit to the characters’ idea that the village was reborn into a new world. Families were switched around, time was of no consequence and the village managed to stay self-sufficient and untouched until almost the end of the war. Thankfully, Ausubel is a gifted writer with a knack for creating realistic characters, especially the story’s main character, Lena. Most of the story is told from Lena’s perspective – a young woman who endures more than one should.
Admittedly, I had an easier time reading the novel once the village had to break out of its safe cocoon, though I was saddened that their experiment couldn’t protect them any longer. When the villagers realized the war had arrived at their doorstep, my heart broke for each person.
No One Is Here Except For All Of Us will not be for every reader. It has a poetic feel with simple storytelling that may annoy readers. True realists should stay away from this book completely. But for some of you – the dreamers, the imagineers – this book will works its magic. To you, I recommend No One Is Here Except For All Of Us unreservedly. ( )
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.