Groundskeeping by Lee Cole
Eager to clean up his act after his troubled early twenties, Owen has returned to Kentucky to take a job as a groundskeeper at a small college in the Appalachian foothills, one which allows him to enrol on their writing course.
It’s there that he meets Alma, a Writer-in-Residence, who seems to have everything Owen doesn’t – a prestigious position, an Ivy League education, and published success as a writer. They begin a secret relationship, and as they grow closer, Alma, from a supportive, liberal family of Bosnian immigrants, struggles to understand Owen’s fraught relationship with his own family and home.
Exploring the boundaries between life and art, and how our upbringings affect the people we can become, Groundskeeping is at heart a love story – a novel about two very different people navigating the turbulence of an all-consuming relationship, and the complications which can ruin it.
‘Beautifully textured … his realism a meld of Richard Russo and Anne Tyler by way of Sally Rooney.’ – New York Times
‘Who doesn’t love a campus novel? Groundskeeping, a stellar addition to the canon, is a tender novel of precise pleasures … At once a bittersweet coming-of-age story and a lovely romance.’ – Esquire, Best Books of 2022 (so far)