No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel

An isolated village tries to save itself from a war through sheer force of imagination—all at the suggestion of a girl.

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.

Visit Ramona Ausubel's official website, and read our Twitter discussion with the author below! Make sure to follow the Jewish Book Council ( @jewishbook) and search #JBCBooks to follow the next Twitter Book Club conversation!

@ramona_ausubel: OK, twitter-land, I'm ready for your questions!. @JewishBook #JCBbooks

@jewishbook .@ramona_ausubel, good to know! We're here and ready to begin- welcome everyone following along to our #jbcbooks Twitter Book Club!

@jewishbook.@ramona_ausubel can you give us a twitter bite-sized summary of your amazing book, No-One is Here Except All of Us? #jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel: #JBCbooks @JewishBook No One is Here Except All of Us takes place in Romania at the start of WWII when a tiny Jewish village... ½

@ramona_ausubel@JewishBook #JBCbooks to reinvent the world, rather than succumb to the disaster at hand. No more history, no more other places.

@ramona_ausubel: #JBCbooks meant to say that a tiny Jewish village decides to reinvent the world.

@ramona_ausubel#JBCbooks @JewishBook For me, it's a story about the power of imagination and storytelling.

@jewishbook: .@ramona_ausubel where were you and what were you doing when you came upon the idea of a town untouched by WWII? #jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel@JewishBook I knew I wanted to write a novel using family stories as stepping stones (my family fortunately left in the 1920s)... 1/2

@ramona_ausubel: .@JewishBook I began to think about how we survive what we do. Our minds seem like our most powerful tools, to me.

@naomifirestone: .@ramona_ausubel Did you choose to locate the town by Dniester river b/c of its similarity to “der nister” (the concealed one)? #jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel: .@NaomiFirestone I only learned the meaning of that name after the book was published, but it made me so happy! Perfect! #JBCbooks

@naomifirestone: @ramona_ausubel Amazing! What a great coincidence. #JBCBooks

@ramona_ausubel: /@NaomiFirestone JBCbooks I know! We get lucky sometimes.

@nycbooks.@ramona_ausubel the power of imagination as a writer or the power of the imaginations of the villagers? #jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel/@nycbook #jbcbooks Good question! Both, I'd say. Because this was my first novel, I was wrestling with the idea of storytelling myself...

@ramona_ausubel: /@nycbook JBCbooks I was also thinking of the way a small group of people could agree to believe in something and perhaps change...

@ramona_ausubel: /@nycbook #JBCbooks ...the chemistry of the world. 3/3

@jewishbook:  .@ramona_ausubel yet do you think it might actually have hindered the villagers’ survival? deciding to ignore the war around them?#jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel: /@JewishBook #JBCbooks It could have. It think it had a real and actual effect, but I'm not sure whether it was positive or negative.

@jewishbook .@ramona_ausubel of course it's not the point of the book, but maybe they could have escaped in real life vs. their imaginations #jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel: /@JewishBook #JBCbooks Perhaps! Another book to write!

@nycbooks: .@ramona_ausubel did it change the chemistry of the world? since the rest of the world remained the same? #jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel /@nycbook #JBCbooks I think it may have changed the chemistry of their world. But you never know what another reality could have been...

@ramona_ausubel: /@nycbook #JBCbooks That's the thing about belief--it's an ongoing choice.

@naomifirestone: @ramona_ausubel Interesting how many attempts at new beginnings there are in book: Hitler's vision, the villagers, US immigrants #JBCBooks

@ramona_ausubel: /@NaomiFirestone #JBCbooks We humans like to invent, to imagine that a new, glorious era might free us from all sort of suffering.

@naomifirestone: @ramona_ausubel For better or worse... #JBCBooks

@miripomerantzd: .@ramona_ausubel would you consider this book to fit into the category of magical realism? #jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel: /@MiriPomerantzD #JBCBooks Some people have said that. In a way, the decision to adopt a new belief system seems very logical to me...1/2

@ramona_ausubel/@MiriPomerantzD JBCBooks But starting the world completely over is a more exaggerated version of this. Also: I'll never turn down magic!

@jewishbook .@ramona_ausubel Your novel springs from a deeply child-like, fairy-tale imagination. Were you a highly imaginative child? #JBCbooks

@ramona_ausubel /@JewishBook #JBCBooks I was. I have a new baby and one of the things I'm most excited about is getting to re-join that perspective.

@BookGal102: .@ramona_ausubel NOHEAOF seems to be written in vein of jewish folktales: does your story, like these, have a particular message?#jbcbooks

 @ramona_ausubel: /@BookGal102 #JBCbooks Ooh, that's a big one! The thing I always come back to is the idea of Enough. Did everyone escape the terrors?...

@ramona_ausubel: /@BookGal102 #JBCbooks Not even close. But enough people survived to continue on. Dayenu: enough, right?

@LouiseHenrich: @ramona_ausubel I love how you reimagined Genesis for the world you created. Was it difficult for u to see this text in a new way? #JBCBooks

@ramona_ausubel: /@LouiseHenrich #JBCbooks Thank you! That story has been told and retold so many millions of times that it felt very welcoming, in a way.

@ramona_ausubel/@LouiseHenrich #JBCbooks I love that Judaism encourages asking questions, reinterpretation, finding our own ways through the stories.

@LouiseHenrich: @ramona_ausubel It has been retold, but I felt that the way u did it was both fresh &, at the same time, respectful 2 the original #JBCbooks

@ramona_ausubel/@LouiseHenrich #JBCbooks That makes me so happy to hear!

@jewishbook: .@ramona_ausubel who did you write this book for? or who do you think would connect most to your storytelling method #jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel/@JewishBook #JBCBooks I suppose I wrote it most for myself, at first. I tried not to imagine an audience in the marketing sense... ½

@ramona_ausubel@JewishBook #JBCbooks but instead to write towards the deepest feelings. Of course, I wanted warm bodies on the other end, too!

@jewishbook: .@ramona_ausubel seems we all agree you've written a truly innovative work! and we thank you for talking about it with us today!#jbcbooks

@ramona_ausubel/@JewishBook #JBCbooks Thank you all for the great questions!

@jewishbook: .@ramona_ausubel with all this rain we're more cold, wet bodies haha. but we still enjoyed the book :) thanks again to everyone!#jbcbooks