How far would you go to help a stranger? On his way to work one day author Steve Lopez stops to listen to a disheveled, homeless man playing a battered violin on a busy, noisy city street corner. After introducing himself as a columnist for the Los Angeles Times to Nathaniel Ayers, he recognizes that this man is also suffering from mental illness. Despite this, there is a rumpled elegance to the man and a refinement to his playing. Lopez discovers Ayers was once a student at Julliard School of Performing Arts.
Lopez struggles with how much he can or should do. Over time Lopez writes several articles about Ayers. The publicity brings an outpouring of support from readers, donations of instruments, offers of music lessons and some accusations of exploitation.
This is a memorable story that began with a chance encounter and develops into a friendship between two very different men. It shines a spotlight on mental illness, on vulnerable members of society, our responsibility to them and is a tribute to the human spirit.
This title is our Book Club on the Green selection. Please join us on Thursday, August 6, 7:30pm at Arlington Lakes Golf Club to discuss this book in depth.