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

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Thorndike Press, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 391 pages
28 Reviews
A moving story of the remarkable bond between a journalist in search of a story and a homeless, classically trained musicianadestined 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 Angelesa skid row, he found it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Juilliardaambitious, charming, and also one of the few African-Americansauntil 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 Ayersas 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bereanna - LibraryThing

I really enjoyed this book, learned from it, and felt the tension as the author, a journalist for the LA Times tried to help a Skid Row/ Julliard musician with mental illness (schizophrenia). Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BookConcierge - LibraryThing

The book's subtitle says it all: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music. There are parts where I thought Lopez's work was self-serving, but in general I think it's a sincere depiction of a meaninful relationship with a man who suffers mental illness. Read full review

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