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Checker and the Derailleurs: A Novel

Checker and the Derailleurs: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Lionel Shriver
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Beautiful and charismatic, nineteen-year-old Checker Secretti is the most gifted and original drummer that the club-goers of Astoria, Queens, have ever heard. When he plays, conundrums seem to solve themselves, brilliant thoughts spring to mind, and couples fall in love. The members of his band, The Derailleurs, are passionately devoted to their guiding spirit, as are all who fall under Checker's spell. But when another drummer, Eaton Striker, hears the prodigy play, he is pulled inexorably into Checker's orbit by a powerful combination of envy and admiration. Soon The Derailleurs, too, are torn apart by latent jealousies that Eaton does his utmost to bring alive.

About the Author

Lionel Shriver is the author of nine novels, as well as a journalist for the Guardian, the New York Times, and the Daily Telegraph, among many other publications. An international bestseller, We Need to Talk About Kevin won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2005, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. Lionel lives in London and New York City.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 853 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (17 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #309,507 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Lionel Shriver's novels include The Post-Birthday World, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and A Perfectly Good Family. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock on! 9 Sep 2013
By Amapola
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Must be hard to recover after falling from such a high pedestal, but that is what happens to checker, our lead drummer, when most of his friends abandon him because of his upbeat yet defeatist personality.
Checker loves everything and mostly everyone and the band and himself make-up a quirky group to follow around Astoria. The parks, bridges, bars, all being much more than just places, they are part of each person and their acts.
The plot does lack a little action, a little complexity, and it would have been nice to get out of the city scene, but all in all it's a very recommendable novel.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not recommended 16 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Believed I was a Lionel Shrive fan,but not based on thsi book. I had previously read, Kevin and post birthday world, both excellent reads. I am about a third into Checker and Deraillers and really cant make sense of it at al! I rarely give up and not finnish a book but this one might be binned! I find it incredulous that the same author of the above two books wrote this one, I will maybe struggle on and if it gets better, I will amend my negative review
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a second review from me..... 21 Mar 2001
By Rona - Published on
I just finished reading this book again, it's been a while. I forgot how good this book can make me feel. It reveals simple truths about life and human nature that should be obvious, but never are. Pain is as much a part of life as pleasure, and you must keep the two together. To quote the book, "You eat your pain. It is like cake, it is like butter. It is life as much as good times by river. You go to bed with your pain like woman. You laugh with your pain like old friend."
What other book ever taught me so much about noticing the beauty in the small, normal things; to recognize and be in awe of colors, sounds and sensations? I was hooked from the first few pages, when Shriver likens the band's music to a lava flow; a shock of recognition went through me. And what other book could so perfectly capture the necessary mixture of emotions that a group of 19 year olds feel, yet make it relate to anyone, of any age? This book makes me feel more alive every time I read it, it is my therapy. I notice that this book is out of print, it doesn't matter. SOMEONE has a copy, somewhere. FIND IT. READ IT.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Checker - a friend through the years 29 Dec 2005
By Durwood Gafford - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On it's simplest level this is a book about a charismatic drummer, Checker, and his relationship with his band, the Derailleurs. It is hands down my favorite novel. I have read it more times than any other and have purchased more copies of it than any other. Every now and then I will read the reviews on to remind myself that I'm not alone in recognizing this superb effort by Lionel Shriver. I've yet to read a bad review, but if there are any out there, please keep me in the dark -- just like the Derailleurs, I'd prefer to believe in the infallability of Checker!

I love to give this book to friends, but it's always an unnerving time; how do i emphasize its significance and not have them treat it like any other gift book that might be set aside if the first chapter doesn't take hold? I tout its out-of-print status as a way of ensuring they know it's not given on a whim. Of course, the time immediately after giving it to someone is the worst: Have they started reading it? Is it too early to press them? What if they really don't like it and I've overstated its significance? Now that I think about it, run from this book -- falling in love with it can only add stress to your lives!

Why do i love the book? The writing is phenomenal and the book stands up well to multiple readings; the characters are truly inspiring and become your friends so much so that you actually miss them; Shriver's words breathe life into the most mundane surroundings; and through Checker we learn to appreciate life as it is while also learning to love ourselves. This novel works on so many levels. I am amazed that it has never receveived the recognition it deserves.

So am i the only one that's hoarding copies of "Checker and the Derailleurs"? I think not. I demand a reprint!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Checker rocks! 4 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on
The clear, brilliant prose of Checker and the Derailleurs is the icing on a cake stuffed with great characters, nifty dialogue, and a plot in which things actually happen. I secretly hope that my friends never read this book, for fear that they will realize that all my best lines are stolen from it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile 17 Mar 2012
By Rick R. Reed - Published on
Verified Purchase
Although I didn't like this as well as her WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, this book was a worthwhile read. It explores issues like coming of age, art vs. commercialism, what defines success, and how human connection shapes and forms our lives. It's also a wonderful portrait of Astoria, Queens, which is almost another character in the book. Some might say it's also a re-imagining of the Christ story and they would have plenty of evidence to back up that claim (it's all here--disciples, sacrifice, resurrection).

In the end, though, for me, this is a touching story about growing up, seen through the lives of some very complex and fascinating characters. The only reason I deducted a star for this effort is that sometimes Shriver was a little too keen on shouting "look at how brilliantly I can write; look at how elegantly I can turn a phrase". She hadn't yet learned the virtue and value of simplicity when she wrote this one. If she had, this would be a five-star book. Still, highly recommended.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talent, jealousy, friendships and love. What else is there? 7 Aug 1997
By A Customer - Published on
A book about a talented drummer and the band that he pulls together with his talent. There are more important characters in this book than the others that Ms. Shriver has written (which I also recommend highly) and consequently the attention is not as tightly focused in Checker & the Derailleurs. Again a good book exploring the ideas of youth and interpersonal interactions. As with all her books it wasn't one I could read all in one sitting, I had to put it down once every few chapters to digest and savor the prose
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Popular Highlights

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Checker later named the problem the Poison Carrot: whenever you define what you want as what you haven’t got, you will never get what you want, since then you would have it and it would no longer be what you want, by definition. A “better” life is always an increment away. If you have decided your happiness will not really begin until you take, not the step you are taking, but the one after that, then you are set indefinitely on a treadmill from which only death, not love or money or fame, can save you. &quote;
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Know that feeling in a house when there’s someone reading in the next room? You can’t even see them and they don’t say a word? Know the difference between that and being there by yourself? &quote;
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“I live in a little picture. It’s the only picture I have. You say personal loyalty is one thing. I don’t think so. I think it’s everything. &quote;
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