Groundskeeping by Lee Cole

20 April 2022

Groundskeeping by Lee Cole, bookcover

Groundskeeping (published by Allen & Unwin/Faber Fiction, March 2022) is the debut novel of New York City based American author Lee Cole, is the story of a perhaps forbidden, and likely mismatched love, set on the campus of a university in the American state of Kentucky.

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.