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Who Has Seen the Wind

Penguin Modern Classics Edition

by W.O. Mitchell

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classics, literary, coming of age
list price: $21.00
category: Fiction
published: 2019

Hailed as a great Canadian classic on boyhood, Who Has Seen the Wind evokes the sheer immensity of the prairie landscape, from the relentless wind to the far reaches of the bright blue sky. Like children everywhere, Brian O’Connal is a curious sort, and with enchanting naïveté he bestows his unforgettable perspective on everything from gophers to God, from his feisty Irish grandmother to his friends Ben and Saint Sammy, the town of Arcola’s local madman. This is no simple, forgettable novel: Mitchell gives readers a 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.

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Contributor notes

W.O. MITCHELL was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, in 1914. He studied at the University of Manitoba and lived in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Alberta, until he and his wife, Merna, subsequently moved to Calgary, where he would remain for the rest of his life. During a very varied career, Bill Mitchell travelled widely and was everything from a Depression hobo to the fiction editor of Maclean’s­, to a gifted teacher and writing instructor. His best-loved book, Who Has Seen the Wind, was hailed as the greatest Canadian book on boyhood, and complementing that book was his 1981 bestseller How I Spent My Summer Holidays, hailed by some critics as his finest novel. Mitchell penned a number of other bestsellers, including Since Daisy Creek (1984), Ladybug, Ladybug. . . (1988), Roses Are Difficult Here (1990), For Art’s Sake (1992), and The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon (1993), which was illustrated by Wesley W. Bates.

Besides The Kite (1962) and The Vanishing Point (1973), Mitchell was also noted for his two collections of short stories: Jake and the Kid (1962) and According to Jake and the Kid (1989). He was also a successful playwright, whose five plays are included in the collection entitled Dramatic W.O. Mitchell. Among his many awards were the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, awarded for his short story collections. Mitchell was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1973 and awarded the Writers Guild of Alberta Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1994.

W.O. Mitchell died in February 1998 at his home in Calgary.

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Editorial 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

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About the Author

W.O. Mitchell

W.O. Mitchell is one of the most recognized Canadian authors of the last century. He was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan in 1914, and during a varied career he was everything from a Depression hobo to the fiction editor of Maclean's. His best-loved book, Who Has Seen the Wind (1947) is hailed as the quintessential Canadian coming-of-age novel. Other works include Jake and the Kid (1961), The Kite (1962), The Vanishing Point (1973), How I Spent My Summer Holidays (1981), Since Daisy Creek (1984), Ladybug, Ladybug (1988), According to Jake and the Kid (1989), Roses are Difficult Here (1990), For Ark's Sake (1992), An Evening with W.O. Mitchell (1997) and the play The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon (1993). He won the Leacock Medal for Humour for Jake and the Kid and again for According to Jake and the Kid. Mitchell was made an officer in the Order of Canada in 1973 and has been the subject of an NFB documentary entitled W.O. Mitchell: A Novelist in Hiding.
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