Foreword Reviews

Starred Review:

Olympia Knife

This mesmerizing novel is a must.

Americans don’t have fairy tales: we have legends. Tall tales. Olympia Knife is a fabulous, luscious story that invokes a magical, yesteryear world. Filled with larger-than-life characters, this mesmerizing novel is a must.

Olympia, the daughter of two circus performers, soon discovers her own powers. She’s one part sideshow and one part performance royalty. Her parents, the famous Flying Knifes, are at ease on the trapeze. Olympia, on the other hand, struggles to find her footing on the high wire.

She both loves and dislikes the limelight: it’s apt that she was born with the ability to vanish. She can physically vaporize, and become transparent. Out of costume, she enjoys a different kind of invisibility, deemed as “plain”: “She drew absolutely no attention of any kind.”

Olympia’s circus companions, like Arnold (The World’s Smallest Major General Tiny Napoleon Only Three Feet Tall) and Minnie (The Fat Lady) have interesting stories of their own. Their world is vibrant, dangerous, and a smart commentary on social prejudices against outsiders. Queer, differently-abled, fat, and nonwhite characters pack the pages.

Set in the postbellum South, Olympia Knife is, at its core, a story about a culture that is no longer able to ignore its own diversity or the itch for change. As Olympia grows, exploring her powers and her place in the dual worlds she inhabits, she witnesses both human potential and limitation, and their shocking consequences.

Author Alysia Constantine is a superb writer whose distinctive, rich style makes Olympia Knife a pleasure from beginning to end.

Reviewed by Claire Foster

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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