Tuesday, March 13, 2012

{read: story and war} No One Is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel

In a small Jewish village in Romania on the eve of World War II, the residents decide to reimagine the beginning of the world and create one with only themselves in it in a futile attempt to protect themselves from the war. The story is told by 11-year-old Lena, who thought this might save them from the atrocities of war. But she is soon struggling with her own problems when her parents give her to her aunt and uncle, who have been unable to have a child. In this new world, they figure, why shouldn't they have a child? After all, Lena's mother has three. Surely she wouldn't miss one. This is also a coming of age story and an exploration of what it means to be yourself, as within the space of a few years, Lena is first herself, then another family's child forced to grow rapidly from an infant to an adult, and then a wife and mother. Yet in the outside world, war has continued and the soldiers eventually find their tiny village. Lena has to decide what survival means and what she will do to protect herself, her family, and their stories.

The language and storytelling in this novel are beautiful, and while the beginning requires a suspension of disbelief, the premise kept me reading and I wasn't disappointed. Fans of The Tiger's Wife will like the way Ausubel weaves stories of the past throughout the main plot and explores storytelling as the essential element of life.

No One Is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel (Riverhead, 2012)
My rating: 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment