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The Soloist

336 pages

When Steve Lopez sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles¿s skid row, he finds it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years ago, Ayers was a promising student at Julliard ¿ ambitious, charming and hugely talented ¿ until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by schizophrenia. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is homeless and paranoid, but glimmers of his earlier brilliance are still there.
Over time, the two men form a bond, and Lopez imagines that he might be able to change Ayer¿s life. For each triumph, there is a crashing disappointment, yet neither man gives up. Their friendship will changes both of their lives in ways that neither could predict. Poignant and ultimately hopeful, The Soloist is a beautifully told story of devotion in the face of seemingly unbeatable challenges, and the inspiring power of music.

A newspaper columnist discovers a musical prodigy among the cast-offs on Skid Row, and a story unfolds like a concerto with layers of unlikely, interconnected strains. It is also a powerful story of one journalist's search for the meaning of his own craft, for the nature of sympathy and respect. Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down Steve Lopez is a terrific reporter. The Soloist is poignant, wise, and funny. Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind With self-effacing humor, fast-paced yet elegant prose and unsparing honesty, Lopez tells an inspiring story of heartbreak and hope as he tries to help an accomplished though homeless violinist find his path off the streets Publishers Weekly - Books of the Year

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