Title: No One Is Here Except All Of UsAuthor: Ramona Ausubel
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
It is 1939, and the one hundred residents of an isolated Jewish Romanian village live in fear as they feel the war closing in on them. When a stranger arrives in the village with news about the horrors taking place where she is from, eleven year old Lena gets an idea. When the sun rises on the next day, they will start over, as if it’s the first day in the world. Their village will be the only place that exists, and by ignoring the past and the rest of the world they hope that they will be able to protect themselves. As Lena grows up in this new world she helped create, she becomes a wife, a woman and a mother. But as hard as the villagers try, they can’t truly keep out the outside world. When Lena and her children are forced to hide out in the woods to protect themselves, she will have to be the one who carries on the story of their village.
I was really looking forward to this original story about the Holocaust. I expected more of a fantasy novel, in which the villagers truly do create their own world, but find traces of the old one slowly sneaking in and threatening their safety. In the book, the villagers try and rewrite the world and pretend everything has started anew, when in reality it hasn’t. The author’s prose was poetic and had the style of a fairy tale. The writing style reminded me a bit of The History of Love, although the two books are completely different. While the concept was interesting, I don’t think that this novel was for me. My expectations may have played a role in this, but overall I was disappointed. I wanted characters I could relate to that felt real, and this book didn’t have that. The villagers just felt like people that were made up for a story, partly due to their illogical naivety. I wasn’t interested in the story, but I did like the book’s themes, such as the importance of stories and how war can make you forget who you are. If you’re looking for lyrical prose and a uniquely written story about World War II, than you might enjoy No One Is Here Except For All Of Us.