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Who Has Seen the Wind Paperback – September 16, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (September 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771061110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771061110
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the finest Canadian novels ever written.”
Globe and Mail

“Mitchell…has so thoroughly captured the feeling of Canada and the Canadian people that we feel repeated shock of recognition as we read.”
–Robertson Davies

From the Inside Flap

When W.O. Mitchell died in 1998 he was described as "Canada's best-loved writer." Every commentator agreed that his best – and his best-loved – book was Who Has Seen the Wind. Since it was first published in 1947, this book has sold almost a million copies in Canada.

As we enter the world of four-year-old Brian O'Connal, his father the druggist, his Uncle Sean, his mother, and his formidable Scotch grandmother ("she belshes…a lot"), it soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary book. As we watch Brian grow up, the prairie and its surprising inhabitants like the Ben and Saint Sammy – and the rich variety of small-town characters – become unforgettable. This book will be a delightful surprise for all those who are aware of it, but have never quite got around to reading it, till now.


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Customer Reviews

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See all 25 customer reviews
I was sad when the book ended.
Mary S
The imagery and symbolism is amazing and the characters are unforgettable.
L. Latorre
I was required to read this book as a rambunctious 15 year old.
D. Houle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is a classic. Right up there with To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath etc. The story of Brian O'Connal growing up on the wilds of the Canadian prairie is beautifully woven against a powerful, sometimes sinister, backdrop of small town Canadiana. This book captures life in a small town like few can. It is hilarious in spots, and sometimes very moving. Mitchell captures the heart of a young boy's spiritual, and intellectual growth with wonderful detail. I highly recommend this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Diane M. Schuller on September 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've read this about three times now, maybe more. What keeps taking me back is something like rain to the earth. These are indeed stories that are 'close to the earth' -- the human spirit, in all its simplicity, yet all its complexity. I read to a group of senior citizens and they often ask for more of this book. The stories read great aloud and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys an author who writes about the everyday, with a very deep insight into the human condition. Don't pass this one up.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Houle on November 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was required to read this book as a rambunctious 15 year old. I hated the fact I was forced to read it, but loved the story as I had grown up on the prairies. Mitchell captures life on the prairie and the mind of an inquisitive boy like no other.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Latorre on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I usually don't like coming of age stories, but this book is the exception to that rule. I loved the author's style; it reads almost like poetry. The imagery and symbolism is amazing and the characters are unforgettable.
The story is about a young boy, Brian, growing up during the depression in a small town on the Canadian pairie. It basically deals with all the things coming-of-age books usually deal with, but what makes this a classic, is the other characters that affect his life. Like his strange friend, Young Ben, who pulled a knife on their first grade teacher to defend Brian. Or my other favorite character Mr. Digby, the school principle, who's understanding and integrity are matched with his unkempt appreance and lack of social graces.
Although some might complain the story is a bit slow, and not be far wrong, the descriptions are beautiful, and for anyone who has every lived on the prairie, it is just going back. It is one of two books I "borrowed" permanently from my parents when I left home.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By iamcdn on September 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I had the privilege of reading this book in Malaysia for my OSSD English class and I found it to be rich and full of Canadian values. I then went to university in a relatively small town (Lethbridge, Alberta) and found the praire life to be a facsimile of that described in the book. Mr. Mitchell has truly captured the essence of Canadian life in the praires.
This book is honest, deep and deals with the cycles of life with humble tenderness. It is a compelling book that opens you to a world of simple honesty and beauty in the Canadian Praires. This book is touching and you will feel it as Mr. Mitchell tells it like no one can.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Brian Sean MacMurray O'Connal comes to his own conclusons when, at age four, he goes to the local church alone and no one answers his knock. After meeting the minister later, however, he thinks he hears the voice of God--"My name is R. W. God, BVD." Brian's search for answers to life's biggest questions takes him through ages four, six, eight, and ten in this 1947 novel set during the Depression on the plains of Saskatchewan. Focusing on the O'Connal family, and especially Brian--their friends, acquaintances, life crises, and search for harmony in nature--the novel glorifies small town life and the local residents' closeness to the soil.

Here Brian expresses the normal curiosity of young children his age as he tries to understand the life cycle of nature--why the baby pigeon died after he plucked it from its nest, how two-headed calves can develop, why his puppy died and what to do afterward, and how to deal with the sudden death of his father and the more predictable death of his grandmother. Each of these major events in his life brings him closer to understanding the ebb and flow of life, further emphasized by the author's choice of repeating imagery and symbols from nature--goshawks, meadowlarks, grass and flowers, an owl, the movement of poplar trees, and, of course, the wind. Biblical imagery permeates the novel, and the poetic language and style--filled with alliteration, internal rhymes, and onomatopoeia--create a lyrical celebration of life on the prairie.

Contrasting characters further illustrate the themes. The two Bens--Old and Young--and St. Sammy, a not-so-crazy man who lives in a piano box and has his own theology, prefer their free, unfettered life on the prairie.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Kim Anderson on March 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
There are books you can blast through, action packed where the story is all on the surface. Tom Clancy, for example. I love a read like that.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a book that will reward you on a quick read, this isn't it. Nor for that matter, are any other of W.O. Mitchell's works (with the possible exception of Jake and the Kid). This is a book that is better on the second reading than the first, and on the tenth than the eighth. Slow down and wallow in it. Soak up the images and let the alliteration create the sounds for you, and when you do, you will be transported into the world about which Mitchell writes. I grew up a couple of dozen miles from the town which he identifies as Crocus, and know real people with the surnames he uses in this book. When I slow down and spend time with Mitchell, it resonates - and evokes with remarkable accuracy the world I grew up in thirty years later. There is no excitement here, but if you have patience, the insight you gain can generate its own profound excitement.
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