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The Soloist by Steve Lopez

The Soloist (edition 2010)

by Steve Lopez

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8744410,152 (3.98)23
Title:The Soloist
Authors:Steve Lopez
Info:Berkley Trade (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:non-fiction, biography, extraordinary lives

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



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Jane's recommendation. redemptive power of music in the life of a homeless schizophrenic. Interesting book. I appreciated the author's analysis of his motives as he got more involved with this man. I enjoyed tracking down a documentary on this story. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
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 ( )
  dalzan | Oct 29, 2013 |
I won't rate this book because I skimmed a lot of it. A good story with a happier than normal ending for people with mental illness of this extent.
  E.J | Apr 3, 2013 |
Eye opening. Helps understand mental illness in a way in which no lecture can. ( )
  olgalijo | Jul 29, 2012 |
"The Soloist," the 2009 movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, was based on the 2008 memoir of the same title by Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times columnist. The film is quite good, but the book gives much more of the story.

When Lopez found a middle-aged homeless black man playing a two-string violin surprisingly well on the street in the worst part of Los Angeles, he thought it might make a good column. When he learned the man, Nathaniel Ayers, had once attended Julliard, he knew he had a great column.

Ayers grew up in Cleveland. In his early teens, he discovered a great love and talent for music. He won a scholarship to Ohio University, then soon was accepted to Julliard. He did well there, but the intense pressure to succeed triggered a mental breakdown that eventually led him to the streets of L.A.

Lopez sees Ayers first as a good story, then as a burden and finally as a friend. Ayers, it turns out, is not the only soloist in this tale. Lopez is one person who comes to the aid of another, rather than just counting on professional and volunteer agencies to do the job. And he discovers that Ayers is not the only one who benefits from this unlikely friendship. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Jul 21, 2012 |
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For Alison and Caroline, who made Nathaniel part of our extended family. And for Nathaniel's mother, the late Floria Boone, whose love never wavered.
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I'm on foot in downtown Los Angeles, hustling back to the office with another deadline looming.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 042522600X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The true story of Nathaniel Ayers, a musician who becomes schizophrenic and homeless, and his friendship with Steve Lopez, the Los Angeles columnist who discovers and writes about him in the newspaper.

(summary from another edition)

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