• Olympus, Texas

  • A Novel
  • By: Stacey Swann
  • Narrated by: Karissa Vacker
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (242 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Good Morning America Book Club Pick! 

A bighearted novel with technicolor characters, plenty of Texas swagger, and a powder keg of a plot in which marriages struggle, rivalries flare, and secrets explode, all with a clever wink toward classical mythology. 

For fans of Madeline Miller's Circe: "The Iliad meets Friday Night Lights in this muscular, captivating debut" (Oprah Daily).

The Briscoe family is once again the talk of their small town when March returns to East Texas two years after he was caught having an affair with his brother's wife. His mother, June, hardly welcomes him back with open arms. Her husband's own past affairs have made her tired of being the long-suffering spouse. Is it, perhaps, time for a change? Within days of March's arrival, someone is dead, marriages are upended, and even the strongest of alliances are shattered. In the end, the ties that hold them together might be exactly what drag them all down. 

An expansive tour de force, Olympus, Texas cleverly weaves elements of classical mythology into a thoroughly modern family saga, rich in drama and psychological complexity. After all, at some point, don't we all wonder: What good is this destructive force we call love?

©2021 Stacey Swann (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

Center for Fiction’s 2021 First Novel Prize nominee

"There is a surplus of buried hurt and unspoken disappointments within the Briscoe family. It may be difficult for these characters to realize their flaws and tangled desires, but it sure is pleasurable to read about them.... I experienced the characters’ grief and regret as if they were my own." (New York Times Book Review

"The Iliad meets Friday Night Lights in this muscular, captivating debut that reimagines Greek myths in a backwater east Texas town. The abrupt arrival of a ne’er-do-well son disrupts the fragile balance amid a family plagued by erotic trysts, broken promises, and social envy. Readers will thrill to Swann’s classical allusion." (Oprah Daily)  

"The antics of the gods on Mount Olympus would rival the plot of the most salacious soap opera. Swann moves the action to East Texas and the back-stabbing members of the Briscoe family, combining ‘Dallas’-style narrative juice with literary panache and a classical pedigree." (Los Angeles Times

"Fans of mythology will enjoy spotting the tragic parallels between Swann’s characters and the Greek and Roman gods.... Swann’s prose is deeply descriptive and her characters heartfelt, but it all boils down to whether anyone in this family can get past their selfish feelings, unrestrained passions and bottled-up anger long enough to forgive each other." (BookPage)

What listeners say about Olympus, Texas

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Crowded

This is an ambitious book for the author. The story was good, but it was very long and drawn out. If you decide to listen to this one, make a chart as soon as you begin so you do not get lost in figuring out whose child came from a married couple and whose children are the products of extramarital affairs. Vacker seems to sacrifice character development to the twists and turns of plot. She shows us what people do, but not who they are.
The narrator used a number of gruff voices which we are supposed to associate with different men. Once again, hard to do since they all sound the same. If you enjoy multi-tasking and superficial reading, this one is for you.

5 people found this helpful

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I find myself in the minority.

This book got lots of hype all over the various social media platforms,
but I was thoroughly disappointed. It dragged on, the characters
all melded together for me, and I had an awfully tricky time
keeping everyone straight.
I also found that I didn't much care what happened to them,
and that is rare for me, I can usually find something redeeming
in a character.
Sad I wasted a credit on this one.

2 people found this helpful

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Texas style Peyton Place

This was a wonderful book and the narration was just as good. It is a modern day version of Peyton Place which I loved!! The only thing wrong with it was there were so many characters!! Sometimes I had to stop the store so I could remember who the character was. Otherwise an excellent read !!!

1 person found this helpful

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GMA Book Club Pick?

Honestly, boring is the only word I can find. Maybe it was the lullaby narration, but I felt the story lacked substance. It seemed like your everyday dis functional family saga. Nothing new here.

1 person found this helpful

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Based on Roman mythology

The characters of the book are based on gods from Roman mythology. I really enjoyed matching the characters with their god. This is in part by the characters’ name, and by their actions.

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Best book I have read or listened to in a long

Loved it. great characters. finished in record time. ordered the hardback to read. characters true to Texas.

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Southern Family Drama

I read Olympus Texas by Stacey Swann because it made it to the Top 10 list for 2021 on a few book reviews I follow. While I would not say it was anywhere close to ending up in my top 10, it was a good quick read with a compulsive story line and a good ol' healthy dose of Southern family drama. I'd probably give it 3 1/2 stars because I do recommend it. There is a lot of dysfunction going on with this "yours, mine, ours, and a few more of yours" family scenario that plays out on multiple levels between all the siblings and parents. I did appreciate that there was a fairly big shocker tossed in about midway through that really elevated the story out of it's potentially deep melodrama trough. Overall, it was well done and I would say if you are looking for a little bit of multigenerational family drama broken up by a fairly shocking plot bomb, this is the story for you.

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Mythology with a twist

This book is excellent! I truly enjoyed the creativity utilized to bring Greek mythology to play in a modern everyday family. The characters were complex and struck empathy from you. The character development was unexpected but welcomed. Overall well done!

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Slow

I did not care much for the store. It seemed plotless and very slow. However, there were some real truths to the story, such as the hypocrisy and claustrophobia of small town living combined with the annoyances and resentments a family with many unlikable characters.

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Picked up when I was about to give up…

Didn’t love it, I was about to thrown in the towel and the story picked up… and it still didn’t do too much for me.