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Ausubel, Ramona

Entry updated 11 September 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(?   -    ) US teacher and author who began to publish work of genre interest with "Safe Passage" in One Story for 10 April 2010, her best known story being "Atria" (4 April 2011 The New Yorker), whose protagonist, mysteriously impregnated, gives birth to a seal, and soon lovingly introduces her newborn child into its element. The tale was included in her first collection, A Guide to Being Born (coll 2013). In its sudden turns and absurdities, when taken literally, her shorter work explicitly shows signs of George Saunders.

In Ausubel's first novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us (2012), the Jewish inhabitants of a remote village in 1939 are persuaded by a Mysterious Stranger to create a timeless Zone that will render them and their home invisible to history (see Holocaust Fiction); the tale shares some of the oneiric lucidity of Bodenheim 1939 (1978) by Aharon Appelfeld (1932-2018), offering a fantasy escape from that novel's ineluctable conclusion. Her third novel, The Last Animal (2023), set in the very Near Future "Age of Extinction", takes some sustenance from "Atria" in its description of the impregnation of a female elephant with an embryo grown from a disinterred baby mammoth. The birth is successful; but the world beyond the animal park is increasingly diseased. [JC]

Ramona Ausubel

born Santa Fe, New Mexico.


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