‘Groundskeeping’ by Kentucky author Lee Cole book review

Ten years have passed since I hung up my satchel and retired as the book editor of the Courier Journal, after a quarter-century of reading and writing about new titles. Rarely, if ever, during that period have I been as enthusiastic as I am for “Groundskeeping,” a timely debut novel by an important new voice for Kentucky, and American, literature.

His name is Lee Cole, and you’ll be hearing a lot from him.

He grew up near Melber, Kentucky, midway between Paducah and Mayfield — and about 250 miles southwest of Louisville. His novel by him takes his central character to Colorado and to Virginia, but mostly he stays in his native Kentucky, working as a groundskeeper at a well-regarded (but fictional) college near Louisville.

“I’ve always had the same predicament,” laments Owen Callahan, the novel’s protagonist, and an aspiring writer. “When I’m home in Kentucky, all I want is to leave. When I’m away, I’m homesick for a place that never was.”

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