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

Overview

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 ...

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The Soloist (Movie Tie-In): A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Buzz Bissinger
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)
Daniel J. Levitin
Lopez is a natural storyteller, giving us a close-up view of the improbable intersection of musicianship, schizophrenia, homelessness and dignity. The result is a surprisingly lively page-turner, propelled by the close friendship developing between these two men and filled with eloquent passages…The Soloist goes a long way toward explaining the workings of the musical mind, albeit one tragically touched by madness. It doesn't shy away from exploring the failures of governmental programs and mental health services for the needy, but it does so without preaching and finger-pointing. It doesn't editorialize; like good music, it just is.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Perhaps the fact that William Hughes is an accomplished musician and a political science professor allows him to slip so easily into both the voice of free-associating, schizophrenic, homeless musical prodigy Nathaniel Ayers, and the more professional voice of LA Times columnist Lopez. Lopez stumbles across Ayers playing his violin on the street a few blocks from his downtown office and writes a column about him that piques the public's interest. This begins an inspiring tale of a friendship rife with triumphs, disappointments, and human kindness. Hughes reads Lopez's narration with the casual authority of one telling his own story. When the dialogue is Ayers', Hughes makes a subtle but effective vocal shift to make him sound more loose and free, but also more anxious. A Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 18).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

By turns harrowing, winsome, and inspiring, this work by novelist (In the Clear) and Los Angeles Times columnist Lopez relates the first two years of his friendship with Nathaniel Anthony Ayers. A budding string genius at Juilliard in the early 1970s, Ayers succumbed to paranoid schizophrenia and became homeless, yet he continued to play the violin as a way to keep the demons at bay. With the help of Lopez and others who responded to his columns, Ayers took steps to recovery, residing in a group facility, making trips to Disney Hall for concerts, and achieving the dream of having his own music studio. The tangle of mental health policies and government priorities comes in for a thorough drubbing, as does the callous disregard for students' personal situations at many elite institutions, at least at the time Ayers was enrolled. Lopez's newspaper experience serves him well, and both he and his subject come across as fully developed individuals. A deeply moving story; highly recommended for all collections and of special interest to those dealing with the intersections of music and psychology or therapy. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/07; The Soloist is being made into a DreamWorks film starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.-Ed.]
—Barry Zaslow

Kirkus Reviews
Los Angeles Times columnist Lopez (In The Clear, 2001, etc.) brings empathy, intelligence and humor to his poignant portrait of a homeless man who once studied at Juilliard. The author first encountered Nathaniel Ayers, a longtime resident of Los Angeles's Skid Row, while en route to work. A Cleveland native who was among a handful of blacks enrolled in Juilliard in the early 1970s, Ayers developed schizophrenia while at the school. After unsuccessful treatment in psychiatric facilities, he landed on the streets of L.A. where, drawn by a statue of Beethoven in a local park, he began to play classical music on a battered violin. Lopez wrote a series of newspaper articles about Ayers that highlighted the plight of the homeless and brought the mentally unstable man donations of numerous violins, a cello and a string bass. Bedraggled and often spewing invectives, Ayers stored the instruments in a shopping cart that he wheeled through town. At night, he fended off sewer rats that scurried across the litter-strewn sidewalk on which he'd slept for years. Outraged, Lopez helped Ayers secure housing in a facility for the homeless and arranged for him to attend concerts at Disney Hall. By the book's end, Ayers has met cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a former classmate at Juilliard. But this is not a feel-good memoir. Determined to understand the evolution of Ayers's illness, Lopez probes his family history, revisits his painful past at Juilliard and seeks advice from mental-health professionals. He also details the myriad complications of forging a bond with a gifted musician whose schizophrenia continues to rage. Energetic prose delivers powerful insights on homelessness and mental illness. Agent: DavidBlack/David Black Literary Agency. Film rights to DreamWorks
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789862163689
  • Publisher: Xiao Tian Xia/Tsai Fong Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/2009
  • Language: Chinese
  • Edition description: Chinese language edition
  • Pages: 302
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet 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.

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