Excerpt from No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

No One is Here Except All of Us

A Novel

by Ramona Ausubel

No One is Here Except All of Us
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2012, 336 pages
    Feb 2013, 432 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

I imagined what the world might look like from so high. I thought the pilot would have seen three concentric circles. First, the brown, churning water - the circle of our river around us; inside that, the quilt squares of our fields, which were turned dirt, newly planted seeds, the bright green carpet of a field just beginning to come to life, fences mended or falling down into the soft new grass, humped haystacks, our cattle herd, our sheep herd, our goats, bare birch trees pointing straight into the heavens; and in the center, in the heart, our cobbled and dirt streets, our red-tiled and gray-shingled roofs radiating out from the town square with its statue of a long-dead war hero in the middle. In each storefront, promises were being made - the butcher's window with a freshly killed lamb hanging on a hook, the greengrocer's with a basket of a deep red beets and a tub of onions, the barber's empty chair and glinting scissors, the healer's pharmacy full of brown glass bottles with hand-written labels, the jeweler's gold chains strung around a black velvet neck.

We watched the airplane fly away into the gray and come back again, the approach rattling our veins. I followed with my eyes as it turned over the mountains on the other side of the river. Then my ears were punched out with a thundering, time-stopping boom and the crackling silence afterward. The memory of that sound circled us while the airplane glinted and disappeared into the clouds.

We waited, itchy, for everything around us to erupt in flames. For the surface of the earth to shatter. For the airplane to come back and drop an ending on our peninsula. The sky did not clear to let us see whether smoke was rising from the other side of the mountains. The rain put out any fires. Silence, that fat hand, slapped away all my questions.

People started to shout. The banker's eleven children yelled questions at each other, at their mother, who was awake but did not stand up from her chair. The word war popped like bubbles on my father's tongue. The word death came after. Forgiveness was begged for. The sky was pummeled with apologies and the ground was pummeled with rain. I thought about every-thing a person could drop from up high: pigs, logs, bricks. A letter stating you are dead. I knew the word bomb, but I had never seen one go off. My mother was silent, except for the grip of her fingers around mine. My hand fit completely, like a seed, inside hers. It must have been the very same sky as before, but it looked emptied out, lightless.

The barrier between the kitchen and sitting room fell. Men and women mixed, husbands and wives held each other. Children tried to insert themselves into the embrace.

The river rose, rain crashed down, and the sound of all that water jumbled our words. We heard glove when someone said love. We heard yarn for harm and bread for God. We were like a windstorm, whipping ourselves dizzy, going nowhere.

There was no point in guessing how many minutes or days before another propeller cut our sky into billowing blue shreds. We began, first in our feet, then in our legs - those rootless stumps - in our sloshing guts and our clamoring hearts, to feel we were being abandoned on this island. The sinking island. Why were we not running downstream with all the rainwater? Why were we standing here, dumb as flags stuck into the earth, when everything that could escape was escaping?

The healer sat down on the floor. He opened the book and began again, his voice loud and sure.

And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." And God said: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years."

The healer's voice turned scratchy and he started to cough. I could not tell the meaning of the tears that streamed down his face. My father handed him a worn handkerchief, and the healer wiped his face.

Excerpted from No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright © 2012 by Ramona Ausubel.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  An Interview with Ramona Ausubel

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.