A Fool for Christmas

A Tale by Allan Gurganus

A Fool for Christmas

Book Pages: 32 Illustrations: 11 illustrations Published: November 2019

Author: Allan Gurganus

General Interest > NC and Regional U.S.

During the Christmas season, mall pet store manager Vernon Ricketts splits his time between selling irresistible puppies and kittens festooned with holiday bows and shielding the mall's loiterers from its over-zealous manager, “Terminator” Vanderlip. Just days before Christmas, Vernon notices a small, bedraggled girl in a worn overcoat desperately trying to blend into the mall's background. Sensing she's a runaway in trouble, Vernon feels obliged to help. His kindness and their chance encounter will produce a Christmas miracle that becomes a legend as it changes lives.

Allan Gurganus’s “A Fool for Christmas” first charmed audiences when he read it on NPR’s “All Things Considered” in 2004. It appears here in print for the first time.

The publication of “A Fool for Christmas” is a partnership between Duke University Libraries (which acquired Gurganus's archives in 2018), Horse & Buggy Press, and Duke University Press.


"A loving object that tells two stories. One is about a teenage girl with a twang who gives birth in a pet shop. The other is about the risks and innovations that small presses make to survive in a struggling industry. . . . Call it a holiday miracle . . . the book, now on its second printing, makes a case that, given the right set of ingredients, there is still a market for publishing experiments. It’s also an enticing way for universities to make their special-collections ephemera more accessible to the public."  — Sarah Edwards, Independent Weekly


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Price: $12.00

Open Access

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Allan Gurganus's fiction has been translated into sixteen languages. Books include Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All; White People; Plays Well with Others; The Practical Heart; and Local Souls. Gurganus's essays are seen on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times and in The New York Review of Books. He has been awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the American Academy's Sue Kaufman Prize for best first novel, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lambda Literary Award, and the National Magazine Prize. Film adaptations of Gurganus's work have won four Emmys. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Gurganus cofounded Writers Against Jesse Helms. His novel in progress is “The Erotic History of a Country Baptist Church.”

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Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0938-2

About Horse & Buggy Press

Dave Wofford of Horse & Buggy Press has designed over 150 books, including over 20 fine press titles that bear the H&B imprint, many which have won awards for their content and design. This includes It Had Wings, the 1997 publication which features eight pen and ink drawings Allan made to illustrate his oft anthologized short story (originally published by Knopf in White People). This hand-printed, hand-bound edition was produced in a limited edition of 335 signed and numbered copies and also included a “Story of the Story,” in which Allan details turning a novella into a much shorter form after receiving insightful feedback from music composer Bruce Saylor, who in turn set the story to a musical score.

Dave recently unearthed a forgotten copy of It Had Wings (long out-of-print and sought after by collectors) and is auctioning it off. Please visit the Horse and Buggy Press website to learn more. Monies raised will go directly to helping fund the next H&B book project.