"I died exactly the way I lived." --C.P. McKay
The tragic secret of C. P. McKay's life is hinted at in the first sentence of this astonishing novel by author Don Keith. The reader, however, can hardly be prepared for what follows. This is the story of a young man who appeared to have everything going for him. He was a gifted football player. He was a brilliant student who loved poetry and literature. But his downfall began when he received a scholarship to a major university. There, C. P. found his path blocked at every turn as he tried to fulfill his desire to play the game he loved, satisfy his thirst for knowledge, and maintain his integrity. In his literary debut, Don Keith created a shocking and unforgettable tale of American campus life.
ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE FOREVER SEASON
The Forever Season by Don Keith continues to receive great reviews and comment and now, the novel has been re-issued by The University of Alabama Press as part of its prestigious Deep South Books series. The Deep South series was created by UA Press to keep worthy works by Southern writers in print. Since THE FOREVER SEASON is on so many high school and college reading lists, this means the book will still be available for students everywhere.
In addition to this, the prestigious French publishing house, Gallimard, has published the novel in France, making this the first European edition of the book. Don Keith joins such prominent authors in the Gallimard catalog as Mark Twain, Truman Capote, Proust and Balzac.
Click HERE to purchase your copy of THE FOREVER SEASON.
PRAISE FOR THE FOREVER SEASON
Winner of the Alabama Library Association's 1997 Fiction Award
"May rival John Grisham and 'A Time to Kill' among debut novels..."
--The Birmingham Post-Herald
Recommended for adults, high school English teachers and high school and public library collections by KLIATT.
"Keith's first person dialogue and ability to weave social, psychological, cultural, and economic issues into the storyline make THE FOREVER SEASON an entertaining piece of sports fiction. Literature classes looking for a good genre-specific book for critical analysis will find Keith's book to be a great fit."
-- KLIATT, March 2003 (Magazine for teachers and librarians, recommended for senior high schools and adults)
"This book passes the ultimate test: it keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next."
-- The Knoxville News-Sentinel
" Keith has taken the worst-case scenario and made it a delightful read. What he describes so well could never happen...or could it? And what an ending!"
-- WJOX Radio
"...powerful and engrossing...(the characters) are beautifully drawn by the author. The novel's conclusion hits with sledgehammer impact. His writing is hard-edged...a gripping read."
-- The Birmingham News
"The novel's prose shines. The football sequences are as good as any written."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"...so much more than a sports story...as understated and as clearly written as the better work of Erskine Caldwell. And as shocking! How much of this book is true is a secret worth keeping."
"...the book is being favorably compared to the first works of such literary heavyweights as John Grisham. A fast-paced, funny and poignant look at coming of age...vivid characters...well-drawn witty prose...will engage readers who don't know a clip from a couplet...it includes a finale that's every bit as surprising as a perfectly executed reverse."
-- The Chattanooga Free Press
"I only wish 'The Forever Season' was longer because I hated to see it end. Don Keith obviously knows a lot about football and even more about writing."
-- Ken Iman, National Football League All-pro, now front-office executive with the Philadelphia Eagles
"...at once a Southern gothic football tome, mystery, and a thriller, with a touch of the supernatural and a few twists that should keep readers guessing...a compelling tale...an original first novel."
-- Birmingham Magazine
"Packs the emotional wallop of a 300-pound linebacker."
-- Hattiesburg American
"You hardly have to be a football fanatic to appreciate the depth of (this book). And you certainly don't have to love sports to appreciate Keith's extraordinary way with words. There's something irresistibly page-turning about 'The Forever Season'."
-- Huntsville Times
"(This) riveting tale told by a dead man keeps the readers turning the pages searching for the answers to 'why?' and 'how?' (Keith's) method of story-telling is as intense as a hushed crowd on a fourth and goal with two seconds to go."
-- Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
"Loaded with surprises...a gritty, absorbing look at the most dysfunctional family ever to produce a football hero."
Excerpt from THE FOREVER SEASON
Copyright 1995 by Don Keith. All rights reserved.
Any reproduction without prior written consent is expressly forbidden except for brief quotes used in reviews.
* * * * *
Dexter's capsules had done their job well. By the time the exercise had chased the poison from my muscles and the dust from my head, I felt as rested, relaxed, and contented as I had since getting to Sparta University. In about an hour, I would be sitting across the table from the most attractive woman who had ever stooped so low as to give me the time of day.
I raced to the dorm after the practice, showered, and put on clean jeans and my high school letterman's jacket. Drake's appeared to be packed with students who were avoiding dining-hall food in the dorms and fraternity and sorority houses. I tried to scan the rows of tables for Maggie, but didn't see her anywhere. I had beaten her there, I supposed, and hunger was suddenly a factor.
"Sit anywhere you can find a flat place," one of the waitresses yelled over the din. She wore a garish paisley blouse and tight bell-bottom jeans, like a hippie gypsy. It seemed to be the uniform for all the waitresses who scurried about through the loud crowd and carried trays full of food or dirty dishes. "I'm waiting for..."
But the waitress was gone, swallowed up by a set of swinging doors at the side of the big room. A couple of guys who had finished eating at a tiny table along one wall stood. I grabbed the spot before someone else could and sat over a quart jelly jar of sweet iced tea while keeping an eye on the restaurant's entrance for Maggie. A herd of students, apparently half drunk, were at the table across from me. They seemed to be laughing uproariously at their own jokes. They looked my way a time or two, pointed and snickered, but I ignored their whisperings of "jock animal" and "hairless ape." The letterman's jacket, my thick-muscled neck, and close cropped hair were a dead giveaway. It wasn't the first time I had been the object of such stereotypical attention. It wasn't my job to set everyone straight. Let them think what they wanted. I was here to meet Maggie Vinyard for the closest thing to a date I had had since high school and I certainly didn't have the time or inclination to get into a tussle with such jerks.
It had never occurred to me she would stand me up. The thought had begun to occur to me by the time the sweet, cold tea had disappeared and I was in urgent need to find the men's room.. That's when I felt a warm hand on my shoulder.
"We're kind of busy right now, C.P. Can you give me a few minutes? I'm sorry."
There she was, face flushed with exertion, hair a little unkempt, trayful of dirty dishes balanced on over a shoulder. Somehow, the paisley blouse and bell-bottoms didn't look quite so tawdry on Maggie Vinyard as they did on the other waitresses.
"Sure. No problem."
She smiled and I threw one right back.
"I'll get you a burger. On me. All the way?"
I devoured the burger and home-cut fries and put away two more glasses of tea, then sopped up with bits of bun the drippings and ketchup on my platter. Even the rowdy group of students at the table next to mine couldn't distract me from the incredible meal. Even when they continued to point at me and whisper like kids at the gorilla cage at the zoo.
"I'm finally finished. Sorry to keep you waiting. How was the burger?" Even with tired eyes and drawn face, she was staggeringly lovely.
"Beautiful. Uh, I mean, great. I was hungry as a wolf."
"I thought they fed you football animals better than that."
"Well, we get tired of raw meat every night."
"Oh, I see." There was a hint of genuine amusement in her exhaustion.
"Hey, miss, how about some service over here!" One of the students at the other table, mouth twisted, eyes glazed from drink, was leering at Maggie.
She didn't even look at him when she answered him. "Sorry, I'm off work now. Someone else will..."
"Look, bitch! My buddies and I want some more beer and we want it right now or..."
Maybe it was him calling her a bitch, or his sneer, or the rich cashmere sweater with the Sigma Chi pin stuck to his chest, or even the way the whole bunch of them had been acting toward me and Maggie for the last twenty minutes, but something primal yanked me out of my chair and across the narrow aisle to where the bastard sat, giggling with his friends like a bunch of junior-high-school troublemakers. I heard Maggie say, "No, C.P.!" but her words weren't nearly strong enough to stop me. My hand closed on his button-down collar. I pulled him to his toes, his red, swollen face near mine. I loved the sudden look of sheer terror in his eyes. Dishes and half-eaten food scattered everywhere with a clatter as he struggled to get loose from my grip. His friends scattered, too, like roaches when the lights come on.
"You know what I'm going to do to you, you bastard? " I spoke through tightly clenched teeth, just loud enough for him to hear, so angry I could easily have broken the fool in half.
"Just don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me." The creep was beginning to cry. For an instant, I seriously considered slamming him against the wall with enough force to maybe crack some ribs, bruise him enough that he would feel my wrath every time he breathed for a while.
God help me!
Right here in front of Maggie, I had been fulfilling every jock cliche she could have ever held. I was reacting physically to someone weaker, solving a simple problem with muscle instead of mind, being Father and slapping someone around if he or she crossed me in some way. The restaurant was quiet now except for the peal of dishes banging together and some kitchen banter. Everyone in the packed dining room had stopped eating, some in mid-chew, and now watched me and the guy I held by the throat, waiting for the big tough football player to kill the skinny drunk frat rat. This kid who was so stupid as to poke at the ape with a sharp stick and to foolishly put his hand through the bars of the animal's cage.
"Are you listening to me?" I asked him. He blinked a yes, said nothing, suddenly sober, fear so strong it could be smelled on him as sourly as his beer breath. I took a breath, raised my voice loud enough to be heard back where the dishwashers laughed and splashed, and spoke slowly, enunciating the words perfectly.
"'Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient fool art thou to break into this woman's mood, with thine tongue tied to no ear but thine own.'" Oh, the fear was still in the jerk's eyes, but just a hint of puzzlement had crept into his expression. "Shakespeare. 'Henry IV.' You may have heard of it."
God knows where that all came from! My brain and mouth had acted of their own accord with no guidance from their boss. I had had every intention of drawing blood from the rich son of a bitch, but I quoted him Shakespeare instead. Now my hands got into the act, disobeying me boldly. The left one lowered him back to the floor and released the guy's throat completely. The right one wiped away a tear of fear that had dropped onto his gold Sigma Chi pin. Then, I reached back without even checking to see if Maggie was there, took her hand in mine, and led her to the door as the restaurant's customers, waitresses, the loudmouth's buddies, and the blue-haired lady behind the cash register watched us go.
Click HERE to purchase your copy of THE FOREVER SEASON.