Checker and the Derailleurs

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Overview

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 ...

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Checker and the Derailleurs: A Novel

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Overview

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.

A charismatic, brilliant drummer and his band make the perfect setting for a resonant, hilarious, and touching story about youth, jealousy, and ambition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The lively bunch of 19-year-old club musicians, the Derailleurs, who animate the pages of this engaging novel, derives much of its spirit from its drummer, Checker Secretti, their philosophical and musical guru. But a rival drummer, the natty, not-quite-top-drawer Eaton Striker, is profoundly jealousy of Checker, endlessly goading the band to get out of Plato's nightclub in Astoria, Queens, and into Manhattan. Checkerblue-eyed, half Italian, half blackowns Astoria, from the arch of the Triborough to the squat Hellgate, writes songs about it, beats out its rhythms on his drums. His single-minded attention to his band and his city, however, has been deflected by Syria Paramus, a glassblower, whose person and profession knock Checker flat out. When Checker hides Rahim, an illegal-alien Iraqi, from an immigration officer and persuades Syria to marry him, Eaton, who has watched the electricity between Checker and Syria, gets to work. Intrigue begets suspicion, until Checker walks out of Plato's and over to Syria's. At this point, destruction and near-tragedy ensue. But Checker triumphant is the key, a boy so radiant that his creator (she wrote The Female of the Species) has fallen in love with him. And so has the reader. (June)
Library Journal
Shriver's second novel, about a teenage rock band in Astoria, New York, is at its best funny, clever, and touching. She uses a few interesting narrative techniques and peppers dialogue and exposition with quotations from and references to middle-of-the-road rock. Her own lyrics are terrific: ``Turn a profit on all that ennui.'' But Checker Secretti, meant to embody mainstream rock, also represents the book's shortcomings. Although the reader is encouraged to see him as a fascinating enigma, Secretti no longer seems complex after some of his secrets are revealed. In an epilogue the rockers are older and ``will learn about satisfaction,'' but this would entail betraying the message of rock and roll. Still, recommended.Ethan Bumas, formerly of the New Sch. for Social Research, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374146436
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 6/28/1988
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Lionel Shriver's previous novels include The Post-Birthday World, We Need to Talk About Kevin (winner of the Orange Prize), and The Female of the Species. She lives in London and Brooklyn, New York.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 28, 2011

    Good group dynamics

    Lionel Shriver protrays the dynamics of the Derailleurs and the shift as a new drummer insinuates himself in the band. This could be applied to any close group, the change in loyalties and how suspicions can arise. Checker is a lovable genius, a character with a little magic.
    Enjoyable read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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