Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “THE SOLOIST ” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.88  ·  Rating details ·  8,226 Ratings  ·  1,374 Reviews
Tiga puluh tahun yang lalu, Ayers adalah seorang siswa bass klasik di Juilliard, sekolah musik yang ternama. Sosoknya yang menjanjikan: ambisius, menawan, dan juga salah satu dari sedikit murid Afrika-Amerika di sekolah itu. Namun, secara tiba-tiba dia mengalami ketidakseimbangan jiwa. Saat Lopez menemukannya, Ayers sendirian, curiga terhadap setiap orang, dan sangat berma ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 14th 2010 by Elex Media Komputindo (first published January 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rebecca by: Genevieve
Shelves: book-club
There was a homeless guy that my dad let stay in our unfinished house when I was a kid-- Greg. He stacked up all the slate tiles neatly... and sliced apart the antique bannister poles. I fell once and he rushed over with a first aid kit and doused my knee with witch hazel and bandaged me up. Then he stole the radio and threatened to kill my dad with a baseball bat. After he got violent, cops came, and Greg didn't come back to the house. As a kid I was fascinated and terrified and curious, and to ...more
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Soloist"'s story is so well-known at this point -- grizzled newspaper columnist befriends once-promising classical musician whose schizophrenia has left him long homeless -- that there's little need for me to recount it here. Steve Lopez's writing is less that of a top-tier author and more that of a solid reporter (today's poetry is tomorrow's birdcage liner), but the true story is well-served by Lopez's relatively unadorned and straightforward prose.

While Nathaniel Anthony Ayers's story wa
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geez, where to start? Whenever I've passed by a homeless person, I've always thought "how did you end up here?" This was a beautifully sad story of one such person. So talented but mentally ill. A vicious cycle of they should be on meds but the meds don't make them feel right so they don't take them, etc. I am holding out hope for Nathaniel.
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Josh by: Ladies Book Club
This book is not a novel, though that is unclear from the cover of my edition. It is a true story based on investigative journalism, which eventually tells more about the author than the subject. So I tried not to judge it by the standards of a novel.

The trouble is that Lopez is a journalist, and has been for decades. So he writes like one. The tropes of newsmen get old fast, which is Ok in newspapers b/c you're probably only reading one article anyway.

But it gets pretty tiresome in a long book
Liz Dunham
Jan 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homelessness
I was originally skeptical of this book presenting too polished a case of "saving" a homeless man. Similar to "Have You Found Her," Mr. Lopez undergoes a personal development in essentially entering the social work field. He is naive, shocked, etc. Then he is intrigued, obsessed, dedicated. But he, too, crosses into a phase of boundary issues. He makes himself and his resources available to Nathaniel without a sense of boundaries or limits. He also begins his dedication before understanding the ...more
May 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review by Alan Rich

Back in September 1964, Jascha Heifetz, the formidable fiddler, was attempting an ill-advised comeback recital at Carnegie Hall. The crowd out front was enormous, and it naturally included many people with long faces hoping for a turned-back ticket to this sold-out event. I was covering it as a music critic for the New York Herald Tribune of lamented memory. At that time, there was a violinist, 20 or so, nice Jewish boy, reasonably talented, who played in a regular spot in fro
Steve Lopez does a wonderful job in capturing and sharing the story of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers; homeless man, who, in his prime, was a musical protege in Julliard. Steve Lopez puts a face to the disease paranoid schizophrenia and mental illness as a whole. Lopez reaches into a downtrodden and forgotten community of people to help a man who was left to fend for himself out in the streets without support, family, and treatment for close to 30 years.

Lopez writes this biography in a journalistic na
Jeff Grogan
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite music-centered books I've read in my life. Lopez perfectly blends the dizzying world of schizophrenia with the counter-dizzying world of music in a story that will charm musicians and laymen everywhere.
Being a real person, Nathaniel was not just dialogue and description on the page, but he walked and spoke and pushed his cart through the room as I read. Lopez's wording was straightforward, journalistic, and simultaneously deeply personal. Although I have never seen an
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I was attracted to this book when I realized it was about a subject close to my heart (schizophrenia), music and that it was the true story of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers. To top it off, the book is also a major motion picture starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. to be released in April. I had to read it.

I finished the book today having started it just two days ago. I could've read it quicker had I no distractions. The author, L.A. Times Columnist Steve Lopez, is not the next great American no
Brenda Bissett-steinhofer
Thank you Steve Lopez for reserving us a front row seat at this symphony in the big city in "The Soloist." The story was both eye-opening and heartbreaking, a score of stunning human crescendo and stark morendo, blowing the doors wide open on the stigmas and misconceptions associated with mental illness and homelessness. We are glad that Nathaniel Ayers has emerged from the shadows and that his story has been told. Anyone who has ever passed a person sleeping in a doorway or with their belonging ...more
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to TL by: Heard about the movie and read the book first
Story and writing: four stars
Narrator for audiobook; four stars

Short review since I gotta work:
I'm not sure when I first heard about this but the movie trailer inspired me to go pick up the book... I was intrigued by Nathaniel's story and what happened to him.

Second time around: Still captivated :) Mr. Lopez does a wonderful job and justice to his friend's story.

Nathaniel steals your heart and you root for him to get better. His achievements, history, and low moments make you smile/cringe but y
Mitch Albom
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I work with the homeless in Detroit, so Steve Lopez's account of a stunningly gifted violinist living in the street didn't shock me. But it brought to light how much talent is out there unnourished, needing only a chance to grow. The fact that Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers had their differences kept it real, and you wonder how many others like Ayers are homeless right now.
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is soooooo good. Its so heartwarming, I guess you can say. Haha. Its a book for everyoneeee
The Soloist reads like a book written by a columnist, which is to say it's clear, it's compelling and it's easy to read. The subject matter is not so easy. Many reviewers have said that this book puts a face on mental illness and the homeless and that's true. The mentally ill central character of the book is not just an illness, he's a real person, with a family, a history, hopes, dreams and problems. That being said, the book also shows how difficult it is to treat mental illness, and how much ...more
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story could be straight out of fiction -- a seasoned journalist discovers a talented, homeless, mentally ill musician, befriends him, struggles to improve his quality of life, and finds him outlets for his talent. It's no Disney movie, though, and I give Lopez credit for acknowledging the three-dimensional aspects of this story. If the schizophrenic musician resists others' attempts to offer him housing, to what extent should his wishes be respected? Is it possible to eliminate the ego appe ...more
Trixie St. Claire
I read this on flights between Raleigh, NC - Atlanta, GA and Tampa, FL. It was a very quick read, but moving and honest. Usually stories like this get sugar-coated and the "helper" becomes the hero. I am glad this book didn't turn into a fairy tale ending where everything is wrapped up neat in a bow. I was glad the book focused that mental illness recovery is not linear- that you can go two steps forward and ten steps back. I hope the upcoming movie of this book doesn't ruin the lovely story.
Maricarmen Estrada M
3.5 Stars - There are some great things about this book that kept me interested and connected to the story, which is actually great. Mental illnesses became something I took a lot of interest in quite a few years ago. "The Soloist" deals with schizophrenia through the eyes of Steve Lopez, a journalist who meets Nathaniel, a musician that lives in the streets of the underworld of Los Angeles who ended up there after having been a Juilliard student because of his mental illness. The story of their ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had seen the movie without reading the book. The movie was very good; the book was excellent! I appreciated the author's writing style, honesty, and vulnerability as he told this true story. I had two key take-aways from reading this book: I have a new appreciation for and interest in classical music, and relationships change our brain chemistry. Steve Lopez's relationship with Nathaniel Ayer was complex and not easy, but it was a special and rich relationship for both of them. It actually cha ...more
Oct 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Soloist is a successful variation a formulaic relationship between a not-normally-activist columnist and a schizophrenic street musician who once was a student at Juilliard. It's written with skill and honesty, a great part of its success. Whereas the title highlights the "the redemptive power of music," the text itself makes clear that no one is fully redeemed and the degree to which anyone achieves progress--emotionally, in life skills and survival--depends on human kindness, patience, ten ...more
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-2k8-2k9
Lindsey #17 The Soloist - Steve Lopez

The back says

When Steve Lopez sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' Skid Row, he envisions this "Violin Man" as the topic of his next column for the Los Angeles Times--only to unearth an even more extraordinary story about the mysterious street musician.

More than thirty ears earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Julliard--ambitious, charming and also one of the few African-Americans at the
Sep 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Lopez' memoir, he interviews a violinist on skid row thinking he might make an interesting story for his newspaper column. It turns out, that the man is a musical prodigy who dropped out of Julliard because of schizophrenia. Lopez attempts the help Nathaniel, but must fight against his mental disorder. The distrust of other people, the warped sense of what is safe and who is out to get him, the switch from anger to happiness, Lopez shows how difficult schizophrenia can be to deal with. What N ...more
Margaret Chan
I watched the movie before I hunted the book down. Never before, both the movie and the book gave me the exact sentiments over the story of Nathaniel Ayers which was told by Steve Lopez mixing with his own reflections over his personal experience and journey with Nathaniel. These themes still stay with me after I finished this book:

1) 'Mental health expert will say the simple act of being someone's friend can change his brain chemistry, improve his functionality in the world.' (from the movie)

Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
In case you haven't seen the movie trailer: Lopez is a journalist for the LA Times whose soul is touched by the violin music of a man who's homeless. Then he discovers that the man, Nathaniel, attended Julliard, and his interest is piqued. Apparently he ran a series of columns in the Times about Nathaniel, and this book is an expansion of them, as well as the story about his telling Nathaniel's story.

Nathaniel's story is a fascinating one, and it takes us through genius. mental illness, race re
Carla Patterson
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-challenge
Having heard about this story ahead of time, I knew the general outlines but I enjoyed hearing the whole book quite a bit. Anecdotally, it was an interesting story but I couldn't help wondering how each of the protagonists viewed the situation. I feel a lot better about it after having heard the whole story from Lopez' point of view. It would be great to be able to hear it from his subject's point of view also but that's not available at this time. Lots of good stuff in this book - wouldn't want ...more
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good story about music, mental illness, family, and friendship. How a mentally ill man finds a refuge in music was compelling enough for me, but I also appreciated the sensitivity of the author--a newspaper columnist who is mindful of how writing about that man's experience turns his personal story into this man's column.

Lopez does a good job of balancing the narrative by focusing on one man's journey while exploring some of the bigger questions of a homeless epidemic, with one r
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is an interesting book, written in an easy-to-read, journalistic style. Which is to say it's not great literature, but it's good to read.

This book confirms my belief that everyone has a story to tell, and Steve Lopez found a particularly compelling one in the person of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers. It also shows how small actions can be life changing. A columnist stumbles across a story idea -- a homeless, mentally ill man who plays the violin -- and the column puts the man on the path to "home
Chris  Ibert
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Club book pick - enjoyed it tmuch more than I thought I would. I did not vote for this book and I was initially turned off to it simply because of the movie (which I hadn't seen but thought looked too slick and "feel-goody" to me). I ended up being fascinated by Nathaniel Ayers' tragic life events and also inspired by the kindness and investment the people in this true story were willing to extend to this man. It's non-fiction and written by a journalist and reads as such, but this is not n ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Usually I read a book, and then see the movie. This time, however, I happened to catch the movie first. The movie was a life changer.

The book is eloquent and goes into more detail than the movie did about the frustration the author experienced trying to help a musician who is mentally ill. The mentally ill resist efforts to help them and it can be quite frustrating when they turn down an opportunity for decent housing, preferring instead to stay on the streets. This coupled with the sheer numbe
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love that this was a true story, for many reasons, but especially because it didn't tie up all the loose ends and put a pretty bow at the end and say, "and everyone is fantastic and reached their dreams. The end". I really connected with the story and it definitely left me pondering questions of my own (what is the best course of treatment? Should you force someone to get help? What do we do about the plight of homelessness? What is the best way to help? Who is better off--me with the stresses ...more
Sarah Michele
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mom handed me The Soloist over Thanksgiving – one of her friends had just returned it. I started reading it and simply could not put it down. Like a lot of people, I hadn’t heard about the book until the movie (which I haven’t seen but I have heard it’s incredible) came out earlier this year.
The portrait that Lopez paints of Nathaniel Ayers is truly haunting. The glimmers of brilliance that come through the veil of schizophrenia, only to be lost again. It’s an unlikely friendship, and an interes
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Cello Suites
  • Violin Dreams
  • Beethoven's Shadow
  • The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life
  • Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses
  • A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument
  • Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with Teach for America
  • Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir
  • The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart
  • Piano Lessons: Music, Love, and True Adventures
  • A Saint on Death Row: The Story of Dominique Green
  • The Inner Game of Music
  • The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright
  • The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany
  • The Joy of Music
  • How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers
  • Composed: A Memoir
  • The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier
Steven M. López (born 1953) is an American journalist who has been a columnist for The Los Ángeles Times since 2001. He is the son of Spanish and Italian immigrants.

More about Steve López...

Share This Book

“.. a friend is someone who inspires, who challenges, who sends you in search of some truer sense of yourself..” 375 likes
“It is possible to cause seemingly biochemical changes through human emotional involvement. You literally have changed his chemistry by being his friend.” 50 likes
More quotes…