Groundskeeping: A novel

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Owen Callahan is floundering. At a loss for how to shape his life, he’s moved back to Kentucky, where he lives with his uncle and grandfather. For work, he works as a landscaper and tree trimmer at a local college, receiving one free writing course as part of his compensation. He feels, blurrily, that he wants to be a writer; he’s smitten, instantly, with the college’s writer-in-residence, Alma, whose parents are Bosnian immigrants. Alma isn’t single, at least not at first, but she’s charmed by Owen’s earnest quest for self-discovery. Owen may be from Kentucky, but he doesn’t feel like he belongs there; he feels disconnected from his right-leaning family and sees a disjunct between his own political and personal beliefs and those permeating his home state. The romance that develops between Alma and Owen isn’t easy or straightforward, and both love and Owen’s search for meaning are complicated even more as Trump and the 2016 election set normalcy spinning in wild directions.

Groundskeeping is a coming-of-age novel that examines how difficult it can be to define oneself and visualize a possible future when the culture at large has lost all logic and coherence. Cole is an earnest, subtle debut author who strikes a careful balance between introspection and broader social commentary.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 01-Mar-2022
ISBN 9780593320501 Buy this Book
Category Popular Fiction