The Kissing Man is a series of eleven short stories set in an unnamed small town in southwestern Ontario in the middle of the twentieth century. The rural setting is real and recognizable – with its dry-goods store, the Queen’s Hotel, the mill pond, the axe-handle factory, the Anglican cemetery, the barber shop – but the stories are other-worldly fables or fairy tales, mixing the everyday and the extraordinary, the mundane and the marvellous. The kissing man himself appears mysteriously and transforms the lives of the lonely. Although he does not cure them of their fear and their need, he provides small moments of solace with his compassion and understanding. First published in 1962, George Elliott’s The Kissing Man is a classic short story sequence in the tradition that includes Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town and Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women.