In Screening Room, Alan Lightman—already a poet, novelist, playwright, and theoretical physicist—turns to memoir in telling the story of his growing-up years in Memphis during the 1950s and ‘60s. The book centers on the family legacy of Lightman’s grandfather, a movie-palace magnate, and it includes scenes with Memphis luminaries like Elvis and Boss Crump, but it is also wholly the story of Lightman himself as he struggles to understand his own place as a white, Jewish man in the segregated South.
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Stephen Usery is the producer of Book Talk, an author-interview program that airs daily on WYPL FM 89.3, a service of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center. He lives in Memphis.