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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, 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:
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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.”


  • “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.”


  • “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.”


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


  • New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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