Who Has Seen the Wind
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Who Has Seen the Wind

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  2,042 ratings  ·  87 reviews
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,...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 14th 2001 by New Canadian Library (first published 1947)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Who Has Seen the Wind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Who Has Seen the Wind

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Maja
"Feathering lazily, crazily down,loosed from the hazed softness of the sky, the snow came to rest in startling white bulbs on the dead leaves of the poplars, webbing in between the branches. Just outside the grandmother's room, where she lay quite still in her bed, the snow fell soundlessly, flake by flake piling up its careless weight. Now and again a twig would break off suddenly, relieve itself of a white burden of snow, and drop to earth."


The prose is absolutely beautiful; you are in the sc...more
Dianne
Apr 19, 2013 Dianne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Brian O'Connal is a little boy living on the Canadian Prairies with his parents, his grandmother and younger brother Bobbie. This is a gentle and touching look at his early years in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and it's hard for a boy to get away with anything.

The authour takes us inside Brian's home life and school life, his ups and downs with friends, neighbours and a new puppy, and then (spoiler alert) the tragedy of losing his father when Brian is still a young boy. His fa...more
Sirena
July 27th, 2013: I'm reading this book for my summer English class, so I'm not expecting to like it. I will, however, try to keep an open mind about it, and I'll give it my best shot. Here we go!

Update July 29th: About halfway through the novel now. As expected, I'm not really liking it at all. I'll admit, it's not bad in the sense that I want to smash my face in with an anvil, and the writing isn't too shabby. It's just so boring. There is no plot at all. There's no story, no conflict, just a l...more
Shane
I am adding this book but it has the honour of being the worst, driest book I have ever read.
bookyeti
Aa coming-of-age during the Great Depression

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 tells 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...more
Jim Puskas
Given the enormous reputation of the author and of this book in particular, I found it diappointing. Certainly, the imagery and lyricism are outstanding; so as a book of prose it sits at the head of the class. And Mitchell's portrayal of the socially oppressive environment of a prairie town rang true -- perhaps a Western variant of Davies' Deptford with all its local petty tyrants and their victims.
But that failed to make it an enjoyable story -- in fact there's not much story at all, just a set...more
Lee Scoresby
My mother tried to have this book removed from the curriculum in the Christian high school I went to.

After she failed, I could hardly wait to read the book. I was very disappointed. There was absolutely nothing any reasonable person could have objected to, and very little to titillate a typical boy in grade 10.

According to my mother, the word damn appeared too often, and there was a religious fanatic who wasn't portrayed in a positive light.

I love my mom, but she was way off base on this one. Th...more
Tom Ippen
Holy hell.

A very Steinbeckian voice meets "To Kill A Mockingbird."

Sad and beautiful. Couldn't put it down.

"Where spindling poplars lift their dusty leaves and wild sunflowers stare, the gravestones stand among the prairie grasses. Over them a rapt and endless silence lies. This soil is rich."
Daniel Kukwa
A book bathed in the golden sunshine of a sepia-tinted childhood. This is a novel touched with a magic few authors can compete with. Whatever world Mr. Mitchell inhabited, we are all blessed that he translated it to the printed page for all of us to enjoy. It made even the early-teenaged me weep with sadness and joy.
Taya M
One of the most amazing bboks ever I loved the way w.o. mitchell showed so much love and passion for what he belived in through his writting and The search for god was touching.

Laura
Cute book, but nothing special - like a mix between Little House on the Prairie and Tom Sawyer.
Brittany
How I Came To Read This Book: I believe this is the first book I read in my Canadian fiction course in first year university.

The Plot: Brian is four years old when we’re introduced to our protagonist, growing up on the prairies with his father the druggist, along with his mother and Scottish grandmother. As a baby boomer, the adult world is still reeling post-WW2 but Brian is simply exploring it – from the wonders of prairie wildlife and weather to his relationships with friends and family memb...more
Ibis3
I finally read this after bailing on it in grade 9 English almost 3 decades ago (what I recall is that I was bored by it, but it could be I was turned off by the treatment of the animals too).

I can see why, as a kid, I'd have been bored out of my mind. Very little plot, a lot of interior life and natural description, death-death-and-more-death, and far too subtle social and psychological commentary for a 14 year old--even an aware, intelligent one--to fathom. I can appreciate all those things mo...more
Carl Brush
It’s odd how one gets involved in things some times. I have a Canadian son-in-law who gave me this and two other books by Canadian writers for Christmas/Birthday with the idea that I might enjoy and profit by a deeper acquaintance with Canadian things literary. Every literate Canadian, he says, has read Who Has Seen The Wind at some point.
I’m glad that Mr. Mitchell gained success with this book and that he has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. I’m glad also that Canadians have a bondin...more
Emily E. Auger
Mar 30, 2014 Emily E. Auger rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Emily by: 9f142656@opayq.com
Shelves: canadian-fiction
I read this one years ago, but enjoyed it more the second time through. Definitely NOT for readers looking for flash fiction, flashy urban life styles, conspiracy theories, or adult entertainment. It is for readers able to appreciate a study of people and life on the Canadian prairies during the depression written in almost poetic prose and from a child's perspective.
Caitlin
I read this about 10 years ago in high school. Here are the 4 things about it that have stuck with me:

(1) Set in the Prairies.
(2) My classmates dubbed it Who Has Dealt the Wind.
(3) They ripped the tails off gophers. At least, I think it was gophers. But I remember the scene quite explicitly, because it disturbed the hell out of me. They picked up the gopher by the tail, spun in a circle, and threw it hard--without letting go.
(4) I hated it. Hated it. I can't even remember the story, just the ove...more
Shannon
Read it whilst driving to and from a wedding in Saskatchewan. A great insight into my parents prairie upbringings, but the book was like the Saskatchewan prairies. Though it had moments of utter beauty it was, for the most part, flat and uneventful.
Douglas Reid
Read this book many years ago. Having grown up on the prairies and several years in a small town, I could relate very strongly. Remember the words "lowest common denominator of earth and sky" to describe the flat land. Very descriptive book.
Kyle
A story of growth and personal discovery about a young boy growing up on the Prairies during the 20's and 30's. The story covers the formative years of Brian O'Connal's life and the events happening around him in his small town. He is surrounded by a cast of simple but heart-warming characters that many might identify from memories of their own childhoods. The narrative is very visual and descriptive, and almost reads like poetry when describing some of the scenes on the Prairies. It doesn't mov...more
Donna
A good ol' Canadian classic novel about a boy growing up on the Prairies.
What could be more Canadian than that? A poignant tale that follows Brian's
growing up years, written in an almost short-story style. Wonderful
vignettes....and the ever-present prairie wind blowing through the landscape
(and through the story) ties it all together quite neatly. Originally
published in 1947, I do feel that it has aged a little, or perhaps that's
just that I've aged a little. ;-) The prose certainly reminded me o...more
Sophia Z
This is likely to be the first English novel I've ever read, thanks to a Canadian English teacher in high school. In that sense this is kind of a monument for me.
Knitography
It was high time I caught up on this Canadian classic; while I'm glad I read it, it isn't going to go down as one of my favourites. The themes of loss and freedom were well-handled, but there was a seriousness - almost a bleakness - to the book that didn't particularly appeal to me. In that sense I suppose it did reflect the time and place in which the story was set -the Prairies during the Great Depression. I wonder perhaps if I had a hard time getting into it because the story is told from a m...more
Cheri
Descriptive book of life on the Canadian prairie. I liked the characters and the discussions of the purpose of a human life. Very though provoking.
Sue Jackson
I just read this novel for my neighborhood book group, and everyone enjoyed it. It's considered a Canadian classic (though I'd never heard of it before), originally published in 1947. It's a sweet coming-of-age story set in the Saskatchewan prairie in the early 1930's. Brian is only four years old when the novel opens, and it ends as he enters adolescence. In between are joys and sorrows, just like in real life, along with tender moments, plenty of humor, and some surprising insights from a youn...more
Jorge Castillo
I thought it was good. It was annoying at times because it was so hard to read and understand the very unique dialect in which a westerner (Canadian westerner) that works and lives in the praires might speak. Not only that!, but it was mixed with a very unique writing style that was at times quite nice. However a bit too cumbersome.

HOWEVER!
I do recommend this book to anyone that is not familiar with the outdoors or is a city type of person. I was expecting a cozy, catcher in the rye type of rea...more
Wendy E.
As anticipated, I'm glad I read this in order to grade the ONE student's paper. Granted I was a little bitter, as I've got a lot of work to complete in a short time period, but this was a quick, interesting and quirky read. Brian grows up a bit throughout the novel, starting his narration at 4 and progressing through late childhood. His perspective on life's ordinary and extraordinary events is telling and refreshing. While I don't completely buy the tie to Huck Finn, I do see some similarities....more
Debra B.
I really enjoyed this coming of age tale set in the Canadian prairie. The prose was very lyrical. I like the way that the point of view changed from character to character as each character appeared or reappeared in the story. Well-written.
Darren
When I was in high school, my favourite English teacher asked me to review this book, which apparently the school board wanted him to teach instead of Lord of the Flies. I'm not going to say this book is superior to Golding's work - it's not even an apt comparison. Lord of the Flies might as well be zombie fiction. I'm not certain it isn't. Who Has Seen The Wind should rather be compared to Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer. A very enjoyable book, unfortunately little known outside of Canada.
Larisa
An evocative, lyrical novel about a young boy growing up on the Canadian prairie around the time of the Great Depression. The first section, in which the boy is 4, really captured the world from the point of view of a child, from the jealousy that his baby brother (ill with pneumonia) gets a "tent" and he doesn't, to his imaginary friend R.W. God. As the book progressed and the character got older, the book lost some of its magic for me, but it was still a satisfying read.
Hillary
Aug 28, 2007 Hillary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I just finished reading this book for the second time, remembering how much I loved it! Not only does everyone who grew on the prairies need to read this book, but those who lack an appreciation for the beauty of the prairies should read this so they can understand how amazing living in a flat land can be!
W.O.Mitchell has the most amazing narrative writing style and the way he captures young Brian is so truly young that I found amazing over it as I read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • As for Me and My House (New Canadian Library)
  • Two Solitudes
  • St. Urbain's Horseman
  • The Mountain and the Valley
  • The Tin Flute
  • The Diviners
  • Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town
  • Away
  • The Stone Angel
  • You Went Away: A Novella
  • Roughing It in the Bush
  • Rockbound
  • Swamp Angel
  • The Englishman's Boy
  • Murther and Walking Spirits
661086
William Ormond Mitchell was an author of novels, short stories, and plays. He is best known for his 1947 novel Who Has Seen The Wind, which has sold close to a million copies in North America, and a collection of short stories, Jake and the Kid, which subsequently won the Stephen Leacock Award. Both of these portray life on the Canadian prairies where he grew up in the early part of the 20th centu...more
More about W.O. Mitchell...
How I Spent My Summer Holidays Jake and the Kid Roses Are Difficult Here The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon The Vanishing Point

Share This Book