Biography The Soloist Book


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Start by marking “The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music” as Want to Read: "When Steve Lopez sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' Skid Row, he finds it impossible to walk away. The Soloist book. Read reviews from world's largest community for readers. A moving story of the remarkable bond between a journalist in search of a stor. Steve Lopez is the author of several books, including The Sunday Macaroni Club and The Soloist. In , The Soloist was made into a movie starring Robert.

The Soloist Book

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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. In November of The Soloist will debut on the big screen. Starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. and directed by Joe Wright. Lopez published a book about Ayers called The Soloist: A Lost Dream, and Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music. The book.

Review of THE SOLOIST, by Steve Lopez

It is scary, though, when you get a chance to see how a schizophrenic thinks, and see how similar it is to yourself. But not new or interesting. The second third of the book is about Lopez. This was good, actually, and turned a two-star book into three-star. I felt like he was hiding the fact that the story was really about him, and I was getting pissed about it.

But then I came around and saw he was being pretty explicit. This book is about how a busy, job-endangered reporter takes the time to get to know a crazy bum named Nathaniel, and writes widely-read stories about helping him and all the crazy homeless.

Now a major motion picture! That's a story I understand. Of course, it diminishes the more interesting story about Nathaniel's world, which would have made a good long article or short story in Harper's. But it enhances our understanding of what we think is a correct and reasonable way to live.

And we compare our views with Lopez's and Nathaniel's. And we see how Lopez seems to realize by the end that he was pushing his view on someone who might or might not accept it. Lopez does play it hands-off, so that was really good.

But he still has an agenda and pushes toward it: Nathaniel should spend the night inside, should be safer, should not cling to a shopping cart, should train his musical gifts, and should make more sense. Without acknowledging that a person might want to sleep outside, take risks, just have fun practicing his gifts, and not rely on reason or connect to reality.

Again, old, old, old ideas. But at least he forces them by making himself the main character.

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And of course we have to think about whether he's exploiting Nathaniel of course he is partly, of course that's not always a bad thing. We hear about his company's troubles as a way of reminding us that Lopez is still protecting his job and looking for a story, and Nathaniel is the best story he'll ever find.

And the thousands of other bums he walked by before he met Nathaniel were not, and that's Ok. Oh, and did you know that crazy people are people too? Lopez seems far too surprised by this, despite being a reporter in a culture saturated with references to mental illness.

Of course you can actually be friends with a schizophrenic! But Nathaniel as a character was pretty good, and made for great interactions among people, as you try to decode him.

But since this wasn't fiction, I was constantly reminded that there was a reason for his being in the book, and drawn away from enjoying his personality. This book blew its potential to be funny, and that made me mad once I noticed it. My first smile was p. Wasn't it heroic how the main character got the mayor to come and support fixing Skid Row? He's so hot. Too bad he never mentions that most of the people there are not schizophrenic, and we're left with the idea that maybe all "those" people, who we know nothing about, are supremely helplessness through no choice of their own.

The Real Story Behind 'The Soloist'

Which is true of many people down and out. He reminds me a little of Miles Davis. I ask where he lives and he says at the Midnight Mission, one of the biggest rescue operations on nearby Skid Row.

Not inside, he specifies.

But on the street, though he showers and takes some meals inside. Skid Row is a dumping ground for inmates released from the nearby county jail, and it's a place where the sirens never stop screaming.

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

He nods, but I can see he doesn't trust me. He tucks the violin back under his chin, eager to get back to his music, and I know that if this one ever pans out, it's going to take some time. I'll have to check back with him now and again until he's comfortable enough to open up.

Maybe I could go on his rounds with him over the course of a day or so, see if anyone can help fill in the blanks in his story or explain his condition. As he begins to play, I wave good-bye, and he responds with a suspicious glance in my general direction. Two weeks later, I go looking for him once more and he's disappeared again.

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

I stroll over to the mission at Fourth and Los Angeles streets, where I see street people by the dozens, some of them drug-ravaged, some of them raving mad, some of them lying so still on the pavement it's hard to tell whether they're napping or waiting for a ride to the morgue. I check with Orlando Ward, the public information man at the Midnight. He tells me he's seen the violinist around, but doesn't know the backstory. And he hasn't seen him lately. Now I'm worried that I've lost the column.

Weeks go by and I get distracted by other things, shoveling whatever I can find into that empty space on the page. And then one day while driving to work from my home in Silver Lake, a neighborhood five miles northwest of downtown, I cut through the Second Street tunnel and there he is, putting on a one-man concert in a location even noisier than the last one.

He remembers me this time. He says he's been around, here and there. Nowhere special. A car whooshes by and his mind reels. Maybe he's a little more unreachable than I realized. Do I take notes for a column, or do I make a few calls to see if someone can come and help him? Nathaniel says he isn't so sure.

The great big silvery building that looks like a schooner. Times Building and know where he is.

He plays for a while; we talk for a while, an experience that's like dropping in on a dream. Nathaniel takes nonsensical flights, doing figure eights through unrelated topics.

God, the Cleveland Browns, the mysteries of air travel and the glory of Beethoven. He keeps coming back to music.

His life's purpose, it seems, is to arrange the notes that lie scattered in his head. I notice for the first time that his violin, caked with grime and a white chalky substance that looks like a fungus, is missing an important component or two.

He's well aware. This one's gone," he says of the missing top string, "that one's gone, and this little guy's almost out of commission.This convinces Lopez's doctor friend to get Ayers help. Steve's relationship with Nathaniel is an excellent portrayal of what everyone has experienced in the toxic friendship. Cruel, even? It also connects the character Steve Lopez to the author Steve Lopez. Or he'll end a chapter or section related to one line of thinking and then start the next with something he mentioned a while back, and then cleverly remind you what he's talking about and how it ties into the main story about Nathaniel.

Sort order. It may not be ideal, but is it not better than nothing at all? Jan 25, Sunjay Sood rated it really liked it.