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Lee Cole

A gorgeous, memorable debut novel, ‘Anne Tyler by way of Sally Rooney’ (New York Times)

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‘Beautifully textured … Anne Tyler by way of Sally Rooney.’ New York Times
‘A coming-of-age story inextricably bound with a love story.’ MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD
‘Smart, funny, exhilarating.’ LILY KING

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.

Critic Reviews

Smart, funny, exhilarating.

Lily King
Critic Reviews

'A bittersweet coming-of-age story and a lovely romance.'

Critic Reviews

‘Anne Tyler by way of Sally Rooney.’

New York Times
Critic Reviews

‘A sterling novel that presages a major career, Groundskeeping puts a fresh spin on the divided self adrift in a divided nation . . . Cole paints in airy watercolours rather than bright acrylics; his touch is light, restrained, but always authoritative and precise . . . [An] exacting, beautifully textured debut.’

Hamilton Cain, The New York Times Book Review
Critic Reviews

‘A deeply American, of-the-moment novel written with such exquisite language that it seems destined to break the bounds of time.’

Critic Reviews

‘A very fine work indeed from an exciting new voice . . . Groundskeeping is not only the story of a young man finding his vocation as a writer but also a wrenching examination of class differences, that third-rail topic in American literature, and of our current political polarization.’

The Washington Post

Lee Cole was born and grew up in rural Kentucky. A recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he now lives in New York.

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