Mal Peet’s ‘Keeper’: Book Review

Dominic Hancock reviews Mal Peet's 2003 football novel 'Keeper'

Dominic Hancock
4th March 2021
In a genre dominated by ghost writers and get-rich-quick schemes, a good sports fiction novel can be hard to come by; however, I believe that Mal Peet’s ‘Keeper’ is perfect for any football fan.

The story follows Paul Faustino, one of the continents top sports reporters, as he interviews the talented, yet reclusive, world cup winning goalkeeper ‘El Gato’.

The reader joins the two as they journey through ‘El Gato’s’ past from his childhood as the son of a lowly logger, to his meteoric rise as one of the world’s best, assisted by his mysterious training sessions in the jungle with the mystical character known only as ‘The Keeper’.

Piece by piece this titan of the game reveals his inner most self to Faustino, and, in doing so, supplies the reader with a deeply personal and honest account of the game we hold so dear. 

The thrill associated with South American football, accompanied by a well-articulated sense of mysticism, masterfully compliments the fable

Mal Peet extends Faustino’s journey in his later books ‘Penalty: A Matter of Life and Death’ and ‘Exposure’, both of which I thoroughly recommend to any football fan wishing to gain greater knowledge of the sport.

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