"Who Has Seen The Wind"

Who Has Seen The Wind by W. O. Mitchell

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 father's affectionate nickname for Brian was "Spalpeen" and the reader can feel Brian's aching loss, knowing he will never hear his father speak that name again.

The writing is quite beautiful. One of my favourite things about reading is coming across a line that perfectly describes a thing I have thought or felt but never found words for. One such in this book is "Within himself, Brian felt a soft explosion of feeling". Isn't that wording lovely? Another line I love is "The poplars along the road shook light from their leaves". So perfect and I can see it, can't you?

Mitchell seems to create that "small town on the big prairie" feeling effortlessly. It's nice to read something that makes you want to slow down and savour every word, breathing in the airy atmosphere that feels safe and yet wild and uncontrollable at the same time.

The copy I read was a library loan and I was lucky enough to get the illustrated version with lots of monochrome, and a few full colour, sketches. It was a sizable book, probably 14"x10" so the artwork was large and, like the writing, easy to get lost in. I recommend this beautifully written book to everyone. 


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