As a five year-old child, William Graves is taken in 1944 from England to the magical mountain village of Deya in Majorca, where his father, the poet Robert Graves, had returned with his new family to the place where he had lived before the war with Laura Riding. Young William grows up in the shadow of this great writer in the Englishness of the Graves household, while experiencing the ways of life of the Majorcans, which had hardly changed for hundreds of years, and participating in the day-to-day activities of the village. He conveys deftly and with great feeling the texture of life in Majorca - the food, the pattern of the seasons, the camaraderie and rivalries within the village, and the growing sense, from the sixties onwards, that his fragile paradise was under threat. Wonderfully observant and full of feeling for the locality, this book is also fascinating portrait of Robert Graves himself, his 'Muses' and his entourage, and a revealing study of how the son of a famous father finds his own identity.
"An excellent short memoir, recalling the magic of his childhood on Majorca, but also showing how hard it is to live with such a father." * Derwent May, European * "William Graves's forthright memoir not only gives a sharp account of Father's foibles but offers a fuller evocation of the swiftly changing scene at Deya and Palma than in Robert's sketchy Majorca Observed." * London Magazine * "In Wild Olives, William, the eldest son of Robert Graves's second marriage, has given us a delightful, personal account of life with father after the family's return to Majorca - all the local intrigues, litigation and gossip interlaced with vivid descriptions of the mental processes by which Graves imagined himself back into the past or made mercurially intuitive connections like some kind of literary Sherlock Holmes" * Times Literary Supplement *