Even Sunflowers Cast Shadows
Emma Starkey is a spunky little girl trying hard to be charitable and virtuous. But her calculated attempts have a way of backfiring with tumultuous consequences in Douglas Armstrong’s poignant story of small-town life in 1920s Kansas. As Emma’s grandmother wryly observes, “Even sunflowers cast shadows.” Weaving through four years of Emma’s engaging disasters is a chaotic friendship with a transplanted Yankee whiz kid, Margaret Drummond, whose family arrives one summer burdened with a heavy secret and a flair for the dramatic. As Emma’s and Margaret’s brothers and sisters become friends, too, their lively pursuits and youthful infatuations begin to spawn rivalries that threaten to split them apart. In the end, perilous, even tragic turns await. This novel, named the best by a Wisconsin author in 2010 (Council for Wisconsin Writers), recaptures a faded moment in time when innocence could still be lost grudgingly.
About Douglas D Armstrong (Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author)
Douglas Armstrong was born in Kansas, but his memories of it are largely second hand. When he was five, his family left Wichita and began moving every few years as his father climbed a corporate ladder. First it was Chicago, then Minneapolis, then San Francisco and then back again to Minneapolis. Over this span, his mother told him tales of life in a small Kansas town where she grew up. Those stories form the basis of his deeply rooted first novel, “Even Sunflowers Cast Shadows.”
Armstrong is not new to fiction. His short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines from Ellery Queen to Alfred Hitchcock to Boys’ Life. Short story writing was a sidelight for three decades to his main career as a newspaper reporter, editorial writer, columnist and film critic at The Milwaukee Journal and later the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Recently, he left journalism and turned to writing fiction full time.