Set in Philadelphia's badlands, where drug gangs rule the streets, this debut novel has the explosive authenticity, the narrative drive, and the tender passion to knock you out of your seat!Fourteen-year-old Gabriel's father skipped two years ago. Now his mother, Ofelia, is searching for her runaway son, riding her bicycle at night through the city's darkest, most violent stretch. The pavement beneath her is mysteriously painted with chalk outlines of bodies. Each time a child is killed, another white outline appears. While Ofelia tries to outrun a vision of her son's death, her son tries to outrun the neighborhood, taking cover with a drifter; but Gabriel is already trapped, at the mercy of Diablo, the ugliest of the dealers, a man who kills for fun.
When Steve Lopez sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles's skid row, he finds it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years ago, Ayers was a promising student at Julliard - ambitious, charming and hugely talented - until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by schizophrenia. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is homeless and paranoid, but glimmers of his earlier brilliance are still there. Over time, the two men form a bond, and Lopez imagines that he might be able to change Ayer's life. For each triumph, there is a crashing disappointment, yet neither man gives up. Their friendship will changes both of their lives in ways that neither could predict. Poignant and ultimately hopeful, The Soloist is a beautifully told story of devotion in the face of seemingly unbeatable challenges, and the inspiring power of music.
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.
This gripping insider's look at the contemporary American trade union movement shows that reports of organized labor's death are premature. In this eloquent and erudite narrative, Steven Henry Lopez demonstrates how, despite a hostile legal environment and the punitive anti-unionism of U.S. employers, a few unions have organized hundreds of thousands of low-wage service workers in the past few years. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been at the forefront of this effort, in the process pioneering innovative strategies of grassroots mobilization and protest. In a powerful ethnography that captures the voices of those involved in SEIU nursing-home organizing in western Pennsylvania, Lopez illustrates how post-industrial, low-wage workers are providing the backbone for a reinvigorated labor movement across the country. Reorganizing the Rust Belt argues that the key to the success of social movement unionism lies in its ability to confront a series of dilemmas rooted in the history of American labor relations. Lopez shows how the union's ability to devise creative solutions - rather than the adoption of specific tactics - makes the difference between success and failure.