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Who Has Seen the Wind (New Canadian Library) Paperback – 14 Sep 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Inc. (14 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 077103475X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771034756
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 546,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

The Greatest book of my life
Who has seen the wind brings a pontifical, somber yet realistic perspective on life in the Canadian praries during the early 1900's. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the first sparse,engaging paragraphs of this novel I was drawn into the intense hot summers and biting cold winters of Mid-Western Canada. Through the eyes of a young boy(supposedly Mitchell himself),"Who Has Seen The Wind" moves through a decade of changes,tragedies and events in a small prairie town in Saskatchewan.
The deceptively simple prose has hidden depths, the adult characters are as much a part of the action as the child narrator,small town politics and intrigues are humourously told but the sharper,darker edges are always there in the shadows.
Mitchell reminds me very much of the Norwegian master Hamsun but with a strong anglo-celtic,not Nordic,streak to his superb narrative.
Highly recommended for another view of North America, not the over-subscribed and over hyped United States one!>
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Jun. 2006
Format: Paperback
Brian Sean MacMurray O'Connal comes to his own conclusions when, at age four, he goes to the local church by himself 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Jun. 1998
Format: Hardcover
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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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 April 1998
Format: Hardcover
THis book had no point at all to it and was very boring. it sucked.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 27 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful , powerful, moving story. 24 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
the classic 23 Sept. 2003
By Diane M. Schuller - Published on Amazon.com
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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful story about life 16 Nov. 2005
By D. Houle - Published on Amazon.com
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"Maybe God was in the bathroom and couldn't come to the door." 2 Jun. 2006
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
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. These contrast with characters like Miss MacDonald, Brian's cruelly insensitive first grade teacher who is dedicated to crushing the free spirits of her young charges. Other characters see their lives as falling somewhere between unrestricted freedom and social responsibility.

A book full of sweetness and nostalgia for childhood and its discoveries, Who Has Seen the Wind is beautifully constructed, resonant with life's themes conveyed in heady poetic language. It is so saccharine in its depiction of the sweetness of childhood and so removed from present day life, however, that it is difficult to imagine this book appealing to today's young pre-teens and teens. Their issues regarding life and death and their big questions about the value of life are far more complicated than life as seen in this period piece. n Mary Whipple
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Classic Coming of Age Tale 3 Dec. 2001
By L. Latorre - Published on Amazon.com
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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