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The soloist : a lost dream, an unlikely friendship, and the redemptive power of
Steve Lopez
Adult Nonfiction ML418.A96 L66 2008

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From 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). (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

From 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, LJ 12/07; The Soloist is being made into a DreamWorks film starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.-Ed.]-Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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