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Screening Room: Book summary and reviews of Screening Room by Alan Lightman

Screening Room

Family Pictures

by Alan Lightman

Screening Room by Alan Lightman X
Screening Room by Alan Lightman
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  • Published Feb 2015
    272 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

Alan Lightman's grandfather M.A. Lightman was the family's undisputed patriarch: it was his movie theater empire that catapulted the family to prominence in the South; his fearless success that both galvanized and paralyzed his descendants, haunting them for a half century after his death.

In this lyrical and impressionistic memoir, Lightman writes about returning to Memphis in an attempt to understand the people he so eagerly left behind forty years earlier. As aging uncles and aunts begin telling family stories, Lightman rediscovers his southern roots and slowly realizes the errors in his perceptions of his grandfather and of his own father, who had been crushed by M.A.

Here is a family saga set against a throbbing century of Memphis - the rhythm and blues, the barbecue and pecan pie, and the segregated society - that includes personal encounters with Elvis, Martin Luther King, Jr., and E. H. "Boss" Crump. At the heart of it all is a family haunted by the ghost of the domineering M.A., and the struggle of the author to understand his conflicted loyalties to his father and grandfather.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The author shows us many small moments, igniting each with sparks of passion, memory and intelligence." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Lightman's utterly transfixing screening of soulful and funny family memories projects a quintessentially American tale." - Booklist

"Screwball, electric, heartfelt, and true, Screening Room pulls no punches. This is Lightman in a new guise, and yet never more himself as he resurrects with aching care the time, place and people that gave him life. I was stirred and moved." - Gish Jen, author of World and Town

This information about Screening Room was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman - trained as a theoretical physicist - is the author of six novels, including the international best seller Einstein's Dreams, as well as The Diagnosis, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the author of three collections of essays and several books on science. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Granta, Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and Nature, among other publications. He has taught at Harvard and at MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and the humanities. He lives in the Boston area.

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