The Bittersweet Man


130 pages
ISBN 0-920493-11-4
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is a professor of English at Laurentian University.


The 13 stories in this volume range from brief sketches to longer and
more complex studies of people and relationships. The sure touch with
characterization, dialogue, and the telling detail that characterizes
Elliott’s 1962 collection, The Kissing Man, is evident in these later
stories, most of which are set in cities, as opposed to the small town
of the earlier pieces. The change reminds one of Leacock’s move from
playful small-town innocence in Sunshine Sketches to the more sinister,
urban satire of Arcadian Adventures. But Elliott’s art is not witty
criticism; his stories are invested with good humor rather than joking
humor. Even with all of their oddities and blundering, Elliott’s
characters arouse the reader’s sympathies. This sympathy, combined
with the sometimes bizarre dilemmas faced by the characters, enables the
stories to achieve remarkably poignant and lasting impressions.


Elliott, George., “The Bittersweet Man,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,