Synopses & Reviews
A moving story of the remarkable bond between a journalist in search of a story and a homeless, classically trained musiciandestined to be 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 Juilliardambitious, charming, and also one of the few African-Americansuntil 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 Ayerss 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.
"Scurrying back to his office one day, Lopez, a columnist for the L.A. Times, is stopped short by the ethereal strains of a violin. Searching for the sound, he spots a homeless man coaxing those beautiful sounds from a battered two-string violin. When the man finishes, Lopez compliments him briefly and rushes off to write about his newfound subject, Nathaniel Ayers, the homeless violinist. Over the next few days, Lopez discovers that Nathaniel was once a promising classical bass student at Juilliard, but that various pressures including being one of a few African-American students and mounting schizophrenia caused him to drop out. Enlisting the help of doctors, mental health professionals and professional musicians, Lopez attempts to help Nathaniel move off Skid Row, regain his dignity, develop his musical talent and free himself of the demons induced by the schizophrenia (at one point, Lopez arranges to have Ayers take cello lessons with a cellist from the L.A. Symphony). Throughout, Lopez endures disappointments and setbacks with Nathaniel's case, questions his own motives for helping his friend and acknowledges that Nathaniel has taught him about courage and humanity. With self-effacing humor, fast-paced yet elegant prose and unsparing honesty, Lopez tells an inspiring story of heartbreak and hope." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Written with elegant spareness, there are no punches pulled in this portrait of Nathaniel Ayers, but God do you root and hope and pray for him. Many books claim to be about redemption and the affirmation of the human spirit, but they are false gospels. The Soloist
is singularly and unforgettably true in all respects.
Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights
"Lopez is a terrific reporter. The Soloist is poignant, wise, and funny."
-Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind
"A heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful, read."
"An utterly compelling tale."
-Pete Earley, author of Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness
"With self-effacing humor, fast-paced yet elegant prose, and unsparing honesty, Lopez tells an inspiring story of heartbreak and hope."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Compelling and gruffly tender...Lopez deserves congratulations for being the one person who did not avert his eyes and walk past the grubby man with the violin."
-Edward Humes, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist writing for the Los Angeles Times
Soon to be a major motion picture from DreamWorks, "The Soloist" is a beautifully told story of friendship and the redeeming power of music.
A moving story of a remarkable bond between a journalist in search of a story and a homeless, classically trained musician, "The Soloist" is soon to be a major motion picture from DreamWorks, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr.
Now a major motion picture-"An intimate portrait of mental illness, of atrocious social neglect, and the struggle to resurrect a fallen prodigy." (Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down)
This is the true story of journalist Steve Lopez's discovery of Nathaniel Ayers, a former classical bass student at Julliard, playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' Skid Row. Deeply affected by the beauty of Ayers's music, Lopez took it upon himself to change the prodigy's life-only to find that their relationship has had a profound change on his own life.
The New York Times bestselling, "unforgettable tale of hope, heart and humanity" (People)
The true story of journalist Steve Lopez's discovery of Nathanial Ayers, a former classical bass student at Julliard, playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' Skid Row. Deeply affected by the beauty of Ayers music, Lopez took it upon himself to change the prodigy's life-only to find that their relationship would have a profound change on his own life.
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About the Author
Steve Lopez is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, where he first wrote a series of enormously popular columns about Nathaniel Ayers.