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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
28
4.7 out of 5 stars
Wild Olives: Life in Majorca With Robert Graves
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on 25 May 2014
William Graves' account of his early life with his loving, quixotic and powerful father is fascinating. I read this whilst visiting rural Mallorca; his descriptions of post WW2 life capture an era beautifully, bringing alive the landscapes and the people of the island. The little boy, with his Mallorcan village playmates, leads an enchanted, happy childhood. Then, as his education becomes more important, he loses much of the closeness he shared with his father. The expectation for a formal, 'British style' education takes over. There is a sense of a lost time of innocence, and of gradual decline of the eldest son's rapport with his father. William's account of the slow and perplexing decline of his father's health, and the difficult relationship they had as William matured, is poignant and candid.
Robert's unfathomable obsessions with his 'muses' are described, not in prurient detail, but simply as they affected the family; sometimes obliquely, and sometimes directly.These eccentricities just had to be lived with, William explains. His mother, not in any way a victim, is shown to be a wise, clever and devoted woman. William's generous, passionate, complex, big-hearted and sometimes foolish father strides through the pages, dominating the lives around him. The 'Senyor' was beloved of many villagers as well as cheated by one or two. His genuine love for the island and the people shines through in his son's account of his extravagant deeds there. William's account is a self-confessed attempt to place his life with RG and his mixed feelings into perspective, after his father's death. Very readable, and beautifully observed. As I stood outside the Graves family house in Deya, (having arrived too late for 'the tour', and not sure I wanted to take it anyway) I felt a blend of tenderness for the family who had lived here, and a fleeting sense of the habits, environment and routines which accompanied RG as he wrote the seven or so books which I have read so far.
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on 9 October 2017
Bought for a friend on her way to Mallorca - to enhance her experience. She really loved it.
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on 24 October 2008
This is not an idyllic portrayal of life in Deia as the son of literary master writer, Robert Graves. It is a warts and all account of the wonders of growing up in Deia, Mallorca, at a fascinating time in its history-one of turbulence and yet innocence through the 40s-70s. Somewhat bravely, some might say unwisely, William Graves is totally honest in his feelings and thoughts on many expat writers and artists who arrived in Deia by the shoal load in the heady flower power era. Many of them still remain-some a little older and wiser-and I imagine view some of his comments with a certain froideur, especially when he exposes the names of certain individuals still living there today!I liked the book and felt it was honest and from the heart. He has a nice straight forward, robust style and yet can be very lyrical and endearingly at times, full of self criticism. It is one of the most interesting and important works on Mallorca's past as well as the psyche of the maverick, Robert Graves. William and his siblings deserve an award for having survived early life with so mighty and trying a presence in their midst.
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on 13 October 2011
This is a beautifully written account of an exceptional childhood set in the period after WW2 in Deya, Mallorca. A very interesting perspective of a child born into the family of Robert Graves, the war poet, who absorbed both cultures as well as trying to make sense of a complex family grouping. William Graves is a talented writer, who invites you into his Deya paradise from page 1. Has similarities to My Family and other animals in that you can visualise the simple beauty of a place through a child's eyes and the what actually is important to a child, despite what adults think.
Excellent, creative writing. The emotional side of being a son to a complex creative individual who was actually highly controlling and selfish, but understandably so given his history and his Art.
Fantastic to read on many levels, including that of post war Spanish history.
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on 21 December 2013
I didn't know what to expect when I bought this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed the Author's story, very evocative of the later Franco era, where the ancient Majorcan way of life was still respectfully and dutifully followed. It details his famous father's many 'eccentric' periods, where it left his then wife and children strongly influenced, by such a gifted artistic individual, but they endured this, whilst living in this ruggedly beautiful unspoilt area of the Island. Wonderfully written, sometimes happy and sometimes sad, but a beautifully descriptive and lovingly told story of this period in time. I totally recommend reading this delightful story
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on 9 June 2014
I'd been to Mallorca, but not to Deya, and wanted to know more about the island and Robert Graves. This book was in the villa that we rented, and I had started reading it.His son describes a sort of paradise in the post-war years, but one's view of Graves inevitably suffers somewhat; rather a nightmare to live with! William Graves's intimate recollection brings Mallorca and its people splendidly to life.
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on 8 December 2000
William talks beautifully about his child hood and it makes you want to be there in the cool waters im mallorca. I recommend reading the book to share the experience of such a good life Mr Graves lived. I also recommend visiting Dae if you ever go to Mallorca,
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on 13 April 2016
Having read his father's autobiography, it was lovely to read William's . I read both whilst holidaying in pollenca which enhanced the experience no end . A lovely insight into majorca before mass tourism and William's extraordinary childhood ..a good read.
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on 11 November 2013
A wonderful insight into the life of Robert Graves, his family and the people he knew. I particularly liked the book because I live in rural Mallorca and it is amazing how little has changed in the lives of my neighbours.
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on 30 October 2015
I am really enjoying this book. It is written well and very interesting. Having visited my own family who live in Mallorca on many occasions, I can appreciate what William Graves' childhood must have been like. William paints a wonderful description, which any one should be able to enjoy, about village life in the beautiful village of Deià and the interesting people who managed to live there in sometimes difficult circumstances.
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