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Who Has Seen the Wind Paperback – September 16, 2000
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–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.”
From the Inside Flap
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Generally, when I visit a place, I like to read fiction or non-fiction books about the location. After marrying into an Alberta prairie farm family, it seemed natural to read this... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Paige Terner
I read the book many years ago and wanted to gift it to my 9-year old grandson. I wanted to re-read it to make sure that it would be suitable for him. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Aileen Wetzstein
I loved this book. The story of a young boy in a small Canadian town. It brought back memories of my youth being raised in a small town. The local people and their relationships. Read morePublished on April 28, 2013 by Mary S
Excellent. How many more words must I write to be polite? Seriously, if one is satisfied
stop with the word requirements!
It's funny...my copy of this book is worn and aging, but you can still read the author's autograph and personal note to me on the inside. Read morePublished on July 19, 2011 by Erin Hanton
Was forced to read this in highschool. It was the most god-awful boring book I've ever read before. Read morePublished on February 7, 2009 by K. Hookey
This is one of the most boring books i have ever read. There is no story. Nothing happens. Each sentence in this book is a long, drawn out, boring attempt to be profoundly... Read morePublished on October 19, 2004 by reading man