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

Extended Audio Sample The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music Audiobook, by Steve Lopez Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,298 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steve Lopez Narrator: William Hughes Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2008 ISBN: 9781455190324
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A moving story of the remarkable bond between a journalist in search of a story and a homeless, classically trained musician—now a major motion picture from DreamWorks starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

When Steve Lopez saw Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles’ skid row, he found it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Juilliard—ambitious, charming, and also one of the few African Americans—until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by schizophrenia. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is homeless, paranoid, and deeply troubled, but glimmers of that brilliance are still there.

Over time, Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers form a bond, and Lopez imagines that he might be able to change Ayers’ life. Lopez collects donated violins, a cello, even a stand-up bass and a piano; he takes Ayers to Walt Disney Concert Hall and helps him move indoors. For each triumph, there is a crashing disappointment, yet neither man gives up. In the process of trying to save Ayers, Lopez finds that his own life is changing, and his sense of what one man can accomplish in the lives of others begins to expand in new ways.

Poignant and ultimately hopeful, The Soloist is a beautifully told story of friendship and the redeeming power of music.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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. The Soloist is singularly and unforgettably true in all respects.”

    Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights

  • “Steve Lopez is a terrific reporter. The Soloist is poignant, wise, and funny.”

    Sylvia Nasar, New York Times bestselling author of A Beautiful Mind

  • The Soloist is an intimate portrait of mental illness, of atrocious social neglect, and the struggle to resurrect a fallen prodigy. 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, New York Times bestselling author of Black Hawk Down

  • “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…Hughes reads Lopez’s narration with the casual authority of one telling his own story.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “William Hughes’ easy conversational style captures the heart of this memoir…Hughes hits no wrong notes in his narration. He is especially impressive in rendering emotions that run the gamut from wonder and awe at the power of music to Ayers’s random profane outbursts when paranoia kicks in.”

    AudioFile

  • “Hughes renders Lopez and Ayers as a pitch-perfect duet. His soothing, sonorous tones for Lopez exhibit both gravity and grace, effectively reflecting the kindhearted reporter, who tries to help Ayers gain back his life. Equally compelling is Hughes' presentation of Ayers, whose cautious, contemplative nature is conveyed in a voice that rises just above a whisper, indicative of Ayers' myriad moods.”

    Booklist

  • “Lopez's writing is as propulsive as good fiction, and his central character is nothing if not a singularly fascinating gent…Yet for all its positive-striding spirit, Lopez's book is rife with suspense…The Soloist is inspirational but also very gritty stuff. A BookPage Notable Title.”

    BookPage

  • “[A] touching story…Hughes reads with appropriate empathy, frustration, and concern in his voice.”

    Kliatt

  • New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claire | 2/15/2014

    " Heart-wrenching, uplifting, generally amazing. I remember seeing the movie when it came out, and my friend said that she thought it was anti-climatic. I said, "But don't you see? The climax was him sleeping in his apartment, in the bed--it might not be climatic to us, but to him, it was, and that is so amazing!" Everything is different in the world of someone with a mental illness, and expecting someone with a similar problem to see things the way we do is unfair & unjust. I think the author is great in admitting his downfalls & mistakes, but his heart wins me over--his will to do this man justice is so encouraging and admirable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cnelsonquilt | 2/13/2014

    " beautiful account based on a true story. one person does make a difference "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 2/12/2014

    " Such a neat book about an unlikely friendship, and a sobering view of homelessness in L.A. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon M | 2/11/2014

    " Touching story of a reporter befriending a homeless, schizophrenic musican and how he not only helps him but how his life if affected by their friendship. A good look at the reality of mental health illness and the difficulty of treatment. Quick, easy read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Tiessen-Wiebe | 2/4/2014

    " Started nov. 1 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peg | 2/3/2014

    " Read this for the library book club, and it was fine. But I didn't think it added much to what I'd already learned about the author's relationship with homeless Nathaniel. I wanted more depth about mental health issues. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lorraine | 1/25/2014

    " The Soloist is Nathaniel Ayers, a gifted musician, whose promising career is cut short when he is struck down with paranoid schizophrenia. His life downward spirals to living on the streets of Los Angeles' skid row. A chance meeting between Nathaniel (who is attempting Beethoven on a violin with only 2 good strings,) and LA Times reporter Steve Lopez, develops into an unexpected friendship, and an honest insight into this ravaging disease. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn Pribus | 1/20/2014

    " A frustrating, aching and ultimately very touching book. This is one I probably wouldn't want to see the movie, because the book is so clear in my mind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judith | 1/18/2014

    " An interesting sojourn into the minds of a paranoid schizophrenic and a "do-gooder". Good human interest story. However, it got a bit long in the tooth when Mr. Lopez delved into the pedigree of each and every person along the way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debie Wisniewski Varady | 1/2/2014

    " This is a wonderful book-this is one that I will go and buy. What a story about music and the mind. Definitely a book to read again. Can't wait to see the movie. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Atkins | 12/30/2013

    " Interesting story, but not really my style. The writing is kind of journalistic and I found myself wanting a bit more heart and a little less straight facts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doris Wedge | 12/22/2013

    " A lesson in how friendship and caring can move mountains. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renee | 12/12/2013

    " Bravo!!! A riveting account of friendship, musicianship, survival and schizophrenia. Well written and purposeful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 12/2/2013

    " Nathaniel's story is certainly inspiring, as is the change that occurred due to the sharing of it. This books narrative is wonderfully crafted and now i want to just listen to classical music. Read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelly | 11/28/2013

    " An interesting, but sad true story. It helped me to understand the complexity of helping someone with mental illness. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jillian | 9/7/2013

    " I checked this audiobook out b/c it's currently the "one city, one read book" for Long Beach. I thought it was amazing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elyse | 8/13/2013

    " I thought this was interesting, but it was a little slow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia DelSignore Peoples | 8/5/2013

    " The only thing I would have liked to have included in this book is a current update on Nathaniel. If not a current update, then at least a website where you can find the status of Nathaniel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Creatingalan Black | 7/1/2013

    " saw the movie and then read the book....definitely enjoyed both.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 10/4/2012

    " Great, true story about a julliard student who became homeless due to mental illness. Very heartwarming & bittersweet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joye | 8/8/2012

    " Good story, read like a newspaper article. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Norma | 6/13/2012

    " Best book I've read in a very long time. The story is a testament to the power of one person, in their actions towards another.This book will make you take stock of your feelings towards the "lost souls" that clutter our streets with their misery. It is a powerful testament to the human condition. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda Underhill | 5/18/2012

    " This is a story about the transformative, healing power of music and the emotional connection an author makes with his work. It's one of my favorite books of 2008. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pjevans14 | 3/27/2012

    " This is a great book about accepting people for who they are, for loving people inspite or and because of their differences and problems, for getting inspiration for the love of live wherever you can. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robynne Peterson | 1/21/2012

    " So well written. You can tell that he really cares about telling Nathaniel's story well, and it is so encouraging to read about the process of learning to love Nathaniel and be his friend. Breaks my heart, gives me hope, and encourages me to find strength in the little victories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 5/17/2011

    " GREAT story that could have benefited from a more literary telling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 5/10/2011

    " I loved seeing the role music played in the life of this man. He was in an awful place physically and personally but music brought him dignity, purpose and some measure of peace. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/5/2011

    " Reads like a dream, and an amazing story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 4/19/2011

    " great; moving, honest account of the friendship between a homelss musician and a LA Times reporter. I like how a reporter writes a book: it was concise, yet description and moving. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 PEN Center USA | 3/29/2011

    " PEN Center USA 2009 Award Winner for Creative Non-fiction "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Moira | 3/9/2011

    " I liked the aurthor's honest sharing of his relationship with this talented homeless man. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leah | 2/20/2011

    " Very interesting story about a talented man with mental illness who is homeless. I did not like the writing of the author in general but the story was ok. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 2/15/2011

    " This was honest, challenging and refreshing. Lopez bothered to learn to love a schizophrenic. Happy chapter where the main character, a homeless Juliard attendee, meets Yo Yo Ma. A great non-fiction ready. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jorge | 2/11/2011

    " Le daría 4* por la forma de escribir, que me parece muy buena, pero lo dejo en 3* porque es mi primeria biografia, que no me ha enganchado mucho pero me ha gustado bastante. "

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About the Author

Steve Lopez is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, where he first wrote a series of columns about Nathaniel Ayers. The father of three children, he currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Alison and their daughter, Caroline.

About the Narrator

William Hughes is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. A professor of political science at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, he received his doctorate in American politics from the University of California, Davis. He has done voice-over work for radio and film and is also an accomplished jazz guitarist.