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Who Has Seen the Wind [Paperback]

W.O. Mitchell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Book Description

Sept. 16 2000 0771061110 978-0771061110 1
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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W.P. Kinsella has called Who Has Seen the Wind, the quintessential novel of growing up on the Prairies, "Canada's Catcher in the Rye." W.O. Mitchell, who was born and grew up in small-town Saskatchewan, evokes the immensity of the landscape with a lyrical prose style, from the ferociousness of the wind to the far reaches of the bright blue sky. It's probably the most important Canadian novel of boyhood.

Mitchell used memories of his own childhood to create the world of Brian O'Connal, balancing a finely drawn sense of humour with a delicate nostalgia for a world that had already been lost even as Mitchell wrote about it in the aftermath of the Second World War. Like children everywhere, Brian is curious about everything, and the author allows him to freely explore his prairie world, taking in everything from gophers to God, from his feisty Irish grandmother to his friends Ben and Saint Sammy, the town of Arcola's local madman. Mitchell gives readers a most memorable glimpse into the ins and outs of small-town life during the Depression years, always through Brian's eyes, and in doing so creates a poignant and powerful portrait of childhood innocence and its loss. --Jeffrey Canton --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


“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

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars initiation into the mysteries of life May 20 2003
If it be a no-brainer adventure or a plot full of relentless debauchery you're looking for, I suggest you avoid this book entirely. However, if you seek a deeply touching novel of intelligence and substance, indeed I urge you to read "Who Has Seen The Wind". It portrays the story of a prairie boy's initiation into the mysteries of life, as he discovers death, God, and the spirit that moves through everything: the wind. The plot details the little things in life that most of the masses overlook, and accurately relates the expressions and deep feelings of a young person growing up during the Great Depression. At the time I read it in school I could relate very easily to the primary character, Brian O'Connal. The novel's greatest strengths lie in its sensitive evocations of Brian's feelings, sometimes associated with his various experiences of death, sometimes with a child's fundamental, inarticulate but insistent curiosity to discover the world within and beyond himself. I was lost in the character's maturation and progression as a person. It is truly a book I will never forget. "Who Has Seen The Wind" definitely has contributed to the way I looked at life in general, as a young person at the time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its not Boring!! Dec 17 1997
The person who rated this book as boring must not have read the same book I did. This is an elegaic portrait of life on the Canadian Prairies in the early 20th century. It captures something significant about the Prairie psyche and the Canadian psyche as a whole. It is, in the final analysis, a sweet, beautifully written story by a master story teller. It is not full of car chases or other amusements for tiny minds, but is a treat for anyone who appreciates a great tale well told.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book June 5 1998
By A Customer
I don't know, what these people are talking about, it just happens to be one of the great Canadian books of all time, and one of my personal favorites. I guess if you've never lives on the prairies, you don't have the insight....
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must read! April 17 2001
This book was required for all students in my high school, and rightfully so. Not only did it make me laugh, it also led me to do a little introspection of my own, and to put lif in perpspective. WO Mitchell's writing will appeal to you, not only for the witty humour, but also for the hearfelt emotion his words can invoke in the reader.
So if you just want to read something good for a change, this is my pick!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who Has Seen the Wind? Feb. 7 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A Canadian classic that was missing from my library. Beautifully written with depth of story.and marvelous characters. Delightful illustrations.throughout the book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book on the second read March 21 2000
I had to read this book for my english class, and I must admit, the first time around it was very boring, which is the only reason i gave it a 4/5. My english teacher, however, showed me some interesting concepts to look for, and to read a little deeper. I tried to look into every word and find its own hidden meaning, and when you do that, the book becomes very enjoyable.
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