In 1939, the residents of a tiny Romanian village are counting upon their isolation to protect them from the catastrophe sweeping Europe. When a mysterious stranger is washed up on the riverbank and the illusion of peace is shattered, the villagers are forced to acknowledge the precariousness of their situation. But even with danger imminent in every direction, the territory of imagination is limitless. At the suggestion of an eleven-year-old-girl and the stranger, the villagers decide, through sheer will, to reinvent the world. Destiny is unwritten. Time and history are forgotten. And for years, there is boundless hope. But as the young girl comes of age, as the real world continues to unfold alongside the imagined one, she will learn the bigness of being alive as an individual, as a member of a tribe, and as a participant in history, and discover the power in shaping one's own truths.
Ramona Ausubel is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of California, Irvine. She has been published in The New Yorker, One Story, The Paris Review Daily, Best American Fantasy, and elsewhere, and has received special mentions in The Best American Short Stories 2009 and 2010, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009. She is a recipient of the Glenn Schaeffer Award in fiction, and was a finalist for the Pushcart Prize. Ausubel lives in California.