Internationally acclaimed Canadian writer, Frances Itani opens W. O. Mitchell’s Canadian saga to a new generation.
Seventy-five years after its first publication, Frances Itani opens the door to the novel, Who Has Seen the Wind, with her introduction to the newest, now illustrated edition.
Best selling author, Order of Canada recipient, Commonwealth Winner Prize for Canada and the Caribbean recipient, as well as the Archives and Library of Canada Scholar recipient, begins by introducing the book and W.O. Mitchell, not only with personal recollections of the author but with vivid depictions of W O.’s teaching and writing style.
W.O., not only saw the wind across the Canadian prairies, he felt it caress his essence, as it now does ours as we travel his pages.
The introduction wafts itself into the Canadian tale that becomes universal as it unfolds in stages.
The main character and his family members capture the readers in spellbound fashion with descriptions that are as palpable as they are multi- dimensional. The readers are immersed in the landscape and soundscape of a never-ending horizon on the Canadian prairies.
Thus, we, the readers, envision our lives as an open-ended narrative, where images and sensations, weightlessly carry themselves into the story of our own lives.
We partake of the seasons of lifecycles, resurrected by the new publication of the novel which accompanies us through a human condition journey, with its vicissitudes, as witnessed through its main character Brian O’Connal in relationships immersed in nature’s and history’s events. It is a journey, each of us takes, through vast vistas, swept by the torrents, winds and breezes of existence and their essence. Tides of memories collide with ours as they sweep the inner landscape of the novel.
By the intimacy of the profound encounter, W.O. ensures that we not only avidly read through his novel but, that his novel remains with us through scenes and characters that continue to accompany us for years as our own stories progressively unfold.
W.O. Mitchell is indeed the Mark Twain of Canadian literature, as he was so definitively defined.
*W.O. Mitchell received 11 honorary degrees, became an Officer of the Order of Canada and was named to the Queen’s Privy Council.