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The Soloist

Cover of The Soloist

The Soloist

A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music
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A moving story of the remarkable bond between a journalist in search of a story and a homeless, classically trained musician—now a major motion picture from DreamWorks starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

When Steve Lopez saw Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' skid row, he found it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Juilliard—ambitious, charming, and also one of the few African Americans—until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by schizophrenia. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is homeless, paranoid, and deeply troubled, but glimmers of that brilliance are still there.

Over time, Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers form a bond, and Lopez imagines that he might be able to change Ayers' life. Lopez collects donated violins, a cello, even a stand-up bass and a piano; he takes Ayers to Walt Disney Concert Hall and helps him move indoors. For each triumph, there is a crashing disappointment, yet neither man gives up. In the process of trying to save Ayers, Lopez finds that his own life is changing, and his sense of what one man can accomplish in the lives of others begins to expand in new ways.

Poignant and ultimately hopeful, The Soloist is a beautifully told story of friendship and the redeeming power of music.

A moving story of the remarkable bond between a journalist in search of a story and a homeless, classically trained musician—now a major motion picture from DreamWorks starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

When Steve Lopez saw Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' skid row, he found it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Juilliard—ambitious, charming, and also one of the few African Americans—until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by schizophrenia. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is homeless, paranoid, and deeply troubled, but glimmers of that brilliance are still there.

Over time, Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers form a bond, and Lopez imagines that he might be able to change Ayers' life. Lopez collects donated violins, a cello, even a stand-up bass and a piano; he takes Ayers to Walt Disney Concert Hall and helps him move indoors. For each triumph, there is a crashing disappointment, yet neither man gives up. In the process of trying to save Ayers, Lopez finds that his own life is changing, and his sense of what one man can accomplish in the lives of others begins to expand in new ways.

Poignant and ultimately hopeful, The Soloist is a beautifully told story of friendship and the redeeming power of music.

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    1
  • Library copies:
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Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Reading Level:
    7 - 12

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About the Author-
  • Steve Lopez is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, where he first wrote a series of columns about Nathaniel Ayers. The father of three children, he currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Alison and their daughter, Caroline.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine William Hughes's easy conversational style captures the heart of this memoir of the friendship between L.A. TIMES columnist Steve Lopez and homeless musician Nathaniel Ayers. Lopez discovers Ayers on Skid Row, not far from the city's Beethoven statue, playing a two-string violin. Ayers was once a musical prodigy who played bass at Juilliard until schizophrenia loosened his grip on reality and a promising career. What begins as a good idea for a column becomes a transforming friendship for both men. Hughes hits no wrong notes in his narration. He is especially impressive in rendering emotions that run the gamut from wonder and awe at the power of music to Ayers's random profane outbursts when paranoia kicks in. A.B. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) “With self-effacing humor, fast-paced yet elegant prose and unsparing honesty, Lopez tells an inspiring story of heartbreak and hope."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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    Permitted
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    Not permitted
    File-sharing: 
    Not permitted
    Peer-to-peer usage: 
    Not permitted
    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Soloist
The Soloist
A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music
Steve Lopez
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