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No One Is Here Except All of Us

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  2,450 ratings  ·  572 reviews
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, exploring how we use storytelling to survive and shape our own truths.

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 - acros
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published February 2nd 2012 by Riverhead (first published 2012)
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Average rating 3.35  · 
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 ·  2,450 ratings  ·  572 reviews

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Cindi (Utah Mom’s Life)
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Magical. Lyrical. Mesmerizing. Haunting. Heartbreaking. Tender. Hopeful. Healing. Life.

How can I describe the unique and unforgettable novel No One Is Here Except All Of Us by Ramona Ausubel? Part fable. Part poetry. Part fairy tale. Ausubel takes the stories that she has heard from her grandmother since childhood and weaves them into a breathtaking and heart wrenching novel with characters that are vivid and alive in their human desires, aches and triumphs.

A remote Jewish village in Romania dec
Julie Ehlers
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Have you ever had an unread book that just constantly nagged at you for no apparent reason? No One Is Here Except All of Us was one of those for me. True, it was an ARC I'd had for about 6 years, but I own many other unread ARCs and certainly many unread books that I've had for more than 6 years, so why this one in particular nagged at me was a mystery. I think it was just that because it was an ARC, I felt obligated to read it, but it really, really didn't sound like my kind of thing, so I susp ...more
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, vine, fiction
This book is getting a lot of hype and I’m still scratching my head wondering why. By now you probably know the premise of the remote Romanian village of Jews who choose to reinvent their world and isolate themselves from the chaos of war. The main thing I don’t understand is why people are calling this a Holocaust book. The war is so distant because the villagers decide to ignore it. At some point, yes, it reaches them, but the dreamlike narration makes it feel surreal and unimportant. Which le ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Anyone who has viewed Robert Benigni in Life is Beautiful understands the power of storytelling, particularly when confronted with one of the most heinous evils in history – the Holocaust. In that movie, the character uses his fertile imagination to provide alternate stories for his son, interned in a concentration camp. In this debut novel by Ramona Ausubel, a remote Jewish village in Romania erases the approaching danger by reinventing their world and starting from scratch.

It’s an intriguing p
Jun 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erika Robuck
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Set in a remote village in Romania in 1939, NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT ALL OF US tells the story of nine Jewish families who make a brave and unusual decision when the encroaching effects of the Nazi’s campaign across Europe arrive in the form of a nearly drowned woman. This stranger tells of an evil army who has tortured and murdered everyone she loves, and the villagers recognize their own danger.

Together, they decide to reinvent themselves. Husbands and children are exchanged, jobs are swapped, an
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
AWFUL. And by "awful," I am partially referring to the horrific, disturbing details that one would expect from a novel about the Holocaust. I do think it is important for us to be made aware of these events, so I'm not criticizing the author for including them in her book. (Though I do think a scene where a person is raped on a filthy mattress in the middle of a field while the bones of her dead baby rattle alongside her may be a bit gratuitous.)

But I also just feel like this story was awful by
Jan Priddy
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I loved Ausubel's One Story offering, “Safe Passage” and expected I would love this too. The first hint that I might not was her New Yorker story that most people seem to have loved, but which I couldn't quite believe. And then the novel arrived and I began reading. The premise is brilliant and others have spoken to that.

Ironically, since so many people have also admired Ausubel's skill as a writer, the writing is the problem for me. Characters are held at a distance. Others refer to the fairy-
I was drawn to this book because it takes place in Romania and because it is about the Holocaust....
Although the writing is exquisite I cannot finish it..... the story itself doesn't appeal to me.
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
First they see bomber planes fly over their houses at the beginning of WWII. Then a refugee who threw herself into the river after seeing her husband and children killed washes up on their riverbank. Aghast at what they learn from her, this small village of 102 people decide that the best way to avoid the horror that was clearly coming was to create their own world. They already live on a peninsula, so only one small spot on the river needs to be hidden and they can start anew. That is
indeed wh
Nov 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Wilson
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I was fortunate to receive through Goodreads.

I will admit that it took me a while to warm up to this book. In large part I think this was due to the author's narrative style and in particular a tendency to string out sentences using conjunctions and commas. Rememeber the old song of "the birds and the bees and the flowers etc. - well this type of sentence seemed to dominate the early sections of the book and after a while, tended to grate on me.

Eventually I warmed up to the
Christopher Alonso
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don't know if I'll be able to do this book justice. The voice and the descriptions. You're floating over the narrator, a ghost, fog, and you're breathing air you're not supposed to breathe and hearing things you're not supposed to hear. Dreamlike is the closest word I c an think of, and it's not enough. ...more
Gail Amendt
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I have been procrastinating on posting a review of this one because it is such a strange book that I have been having a hard time deciding what to say. When I found out I had won this on a the Goodreads giveaway, I was excited, as I love historical fiction, especially about WWII and the Holocaust. It was not at all what I was expecting.

When the residents of a small, isolated Jewish town in Romania realize the war is coming, they decide to cut off their peninsula from the outside world and prete
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
"If you can't remember the stars' shapes, make more up. Sometimes, you have to make your own heavens."

This piece of advice passed from a father to his son in "No One is Here Except All of Us," summarizes nicely this most original and mesmerizing story I have read in a long time. In the remote Romanian village of Zalischik, the mysterious villagers learn to become completely self-sufficient by trading with no neighboring villages and by cloaking themselves in stories of their own invention in or
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I should have known how much I would love this book based on the title alone; isn't it such an awesome, puzzling, and memorable title? The book is awesome, puzzling, and memorable too. As others have pointed out, there are some pretty disturbing things that happen and some things that may seem inexplicable (such as Lena's parents' decision), but I think they are included with a specific purpose in mind (with respect to Lena's parents, perhaps to show the "tribal" influence). My only minor compla ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
"There is always a story. No matter what we do it can't help but unfold."
"I'm afraid," I said.
"Yes," she told me.

This is one of those books.

You could say it's a story of war and holocaust. You could say it's about magic and language and time. You could say it's a story of connections, of how strangers become families, of how families and communities begin, end, continue. You could say it's a spiritual story, full of questions and poetry and prayers. You could say it's about water and earth and s
Erin Rouleau
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had a really hard time getting into this book and I even had a hard time staying interested. I did not look forward to picking it up, yet while reading I often felt transfixed. There was such beauty in the melancholic writing. That said, I often put it down because the tears would build up and I was never in the place to let them come. This book is hard to describe. Since my Dad died I haven't found anything written, or heard anything from others regarding "addition and subtraction" which I fe ...more
Dec 16, 2011 added it
This is the most unique WWII book I have ever read. I don't even know how to review this book. I know I won't forget it.

The book opens in a remote Romanian village after a storm. The villagers collect what was brought down the river as the water recedes and finds a woman. She's alive. She doesn't remember much except that all of her people are gone. The reader assumes her village was destroyed by the Nazis and she is the lone survivor. It is through this experience that the villagers decide to s
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it
This was one of the most random books I have read in a while. I appreciated the topic, I greatly enjoyed her literary style and writing, and once I was reading it was hard to stop. However none of those thing added up to actually enjoying the book. The characters were fairly unbelievable as well as unlikable. I can appreciate and like a character with flaws but these "human" flaws were generally unrealistic and bizarre. I gave it a chance until a major part of the story involved a grown woman "a ...more
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that's impossible to describe. It's not your typical Holocaust memoir, and in fact most of the book revolves around a small village's decision to completely cut itself off from the outside world, thereby avoiding the tragedy around them. It's a bit fantastic and a bit like a fairy tale... including the ogres that appear toward the end.

The main reason I'd recommend reading this novel is simply to enjoy the author's use of words. Her writing is absolutely, heartachingly
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I grabbed this book off my shelf after reading The Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty. I didn't realize it was about the Holocaust, so I braced myself for a pretty heavy read. But I found that while this book was indeed devastating, it was an exploration on the Holocaust I had not yet read. Ramona shows how this war tore Jewish families apart in ways I didn't necessarily expect. It was creative and showed the worst and best the humanity has to offer in times of war. It was difficult to read a ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Bright
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
On a small peninsula off the northern edge of Romania, in a village so remote that it seemed to be separated from the rest of the world there lived nine Jewish families. Like many villages in the 1939, there was a greengrocer, a jeweler, a farmer, a cabbage picker, a banker, a saddle-maker, a barber, a weaver, and a healer. Although the villagers knew that there was a "man with the square mustache that wanted to remake the world" and knew about what was happening to the Jewish people, in their s ...more
Sarah (needs a break from reviewing)
4/11 - A bit weird and slow, I'm not sure if I like it or not. I'll continue reading for now.

13/11 - This wasn't for me. It was just too weird. I was expecting the story of a town hiding from the horror of WWII and the Nazis, what I got was the story of an 11-year-old girl who is 'given' to her maternal aunt, who has been unable to have children, because her mother already has 'enough' children and it's not fair to have three children while some have none.

After the arrival of a stranger (who no
Feb 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I hated this book. I read most of it, until I realized how much I was hating every second of it & finally put it down; there were only about 20 pages left. The whole premise of the book rested on a town of Jews in an isolated area who heard about the war & decided that a reasonable thing to do would be to pretend that they are remaking the world & they are the only ones that exist. That solves the problem of the war & they live in a way that allows them to cut off all contact with the rest of th ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had hoped that this would be just the book to read to celebrate the finishing and handing in of my MA dissertation, and the beginning of my long-awaited summer holiday. It was. It is one of those which I had a feeling I would love before I even began to read. I did.

No One Is Here Except All of Us is a staggeringly beautiful novel. I adored Ausubel's writing; her dialogue particularly was inventive and original. The novel is, understandably, both incredibly sad and harrowing, but with regard t
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hands down, the best book I have read this year, and probably one of the most exquisite books I have read in my life.

I was glued to its pages, awe struck by the perfection of its prose, losing count of the sentences so piercing that they made me weep.

What talent this woman possesses: extraordinary.

Read it. Then make everyone you know read it.
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the early days of World War II, the river that nearly surrounds the tiny peninsular village of Zalischik, Romania, overflows its banks, bringing with it a half-drowned woman. Once revived, she tells the story of her own Jewish family and others being rounded up and murdered. She only narrowly escaped herself. In the face of this horror, the Jewish villagers of Zalischik make a very unusual decision. They decide to cut themselves off entirely from the outside world and start over, inventing a ...more
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Ramona Ausubel is the author of a new novel, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty (on sale 6/14/2016) as well as No One is Here Except All of Us, winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and Finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. Her collection of stories, A Guide to Being Born, was a New York Times’ Notable Book. He ...more

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