The Soloist Book Report

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The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music (2009), a nonfiction book by American author and journalist Steve Lopez, is based on a series of Los Angeles Times columns in which journalist Lopez chronicled his friendship with schizophrenic bass player Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a talented musician who was living on the streets when they met. Lopez’s attempt to help Ayers and get him the attention he deserved for his talent was a long and tumultuous process. Exploring themes of mental illness, homelessness, and the ability of music to transform lives, The Soloist received positive reviews and won the PEN USA Award for literary non-fiction. The columns by Lopez had already attracted a lot of attention, and even before the book’s release, it had been optioned for a major motion picture. Released in 2009, the…show more content…
From the moment Lopez met Ayers, he could tell there was something special in the way he played the violin. Lopez instantly knew that there was something in the story of Ayers that would make a great column for his newspaper, and decided to get to know Ayers. He continued to make short visits to the violinist, until Ayers became a bit more comfortable with opening up to him. However, he soon learned that Ayers was a schizophrenic and was homeless because his symptoms made it difficult for him to function in day to day life. Researching Ayers’ life, Lopez talked to people who knew him and learned that he was once a classical bass student at Juilliard, but left school due to his illness. Writing a column about Nathaniel in the paper, he soon heard back from Al Rich, the CEO of Pearl River Piano Group America, who was interested in Ayers’ story and sent over some model instruments to replace Nathaniel’s old, worn violin. Steve convinced Nathaniel to store them at a local shelter and play there, so he’d have somewhere safer to be than the
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