join us on facebook
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

2 a.m. at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A story of lonely people converging on a jazz club, The Cat’s Pajamas, just before Christmas. It is a quirky, feel-good tale, all written in the present tense including the back stories. With lots of short bits of repetition the pace varies giving a rhythm, very jazz like. The characters are all odd misfits centring on a girl about to be ten with a lovely voice, a 16-year old lad who plays a wonderful guitar, an art mistress and her possible love (if they have the courage) and many more. The girl has recently lost her mother and is minded by Mrs Santiago who runs a café and has a wandering dog. Now they are an interesting pair who certainly surprised me at the end, see what you think.

If you like Marie-Helene Bertino you might also like to read books by Maria Semple, Keir Alexander and Carol Rifka Brunt.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


2 a.m. at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Madeleine Altimari is a sassy, smart-mouthed nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer, inwardly mourning the recent death of her mother. Little does she know that on Christmas Eve Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day - and night - of her life. After bravely facing down some mean-spirited classmates and a galling rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she's determined to make her on-stage debut. Meanwhile, her fifth-grade teacher Sarina Greene is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high-school crush. And across town at The Cat's Pajamas, club owner Jack Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever ...As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life's endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving novel, 2 A.M. At The Cat's Pajamas will swell your heart and have you laughing out loud.


'Clever, charming and full of life ... Like the best jazz, 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas is a marvel of the unexpected, a buoyant, swinging tale of interwoven destinies that Marie-Helene Bertino tells with verve, wit, and warmth. I loved it.' -- Maggie Shipstead, author of SEATING ARRANGEMENTS

'Marie-Helene Bertino bops across Philadelphia like an alleycat on the run, energetic and wild. Her sentences are sharp and surprising, and her wonderful story is full of heart. There is funny poetry in the sound of loneliness, and Bertino has found it'. -- Emma Straub, author of THE VACATIONERS and LAURA LAMONT'S LIFE IN PICTURES

'2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas is as winning and funny as the nine year-old at its heart, and I love it for the way its protagonists turn their back on their city's cruddiness and their own losses to proclaim their happiness to be in this world. They offer wryness as the antidote to self-pity and benevolence as the antidote to isolation, and they demonstrate how even the most forsaken can turn themselves into a warm, dry house.' -- Jim Shepard, National Book Award shortlisted author of LIKE YOU'D UNDERSTAND, ANYWAY

'2 A.M atThe Cat's Pajamas is a recipe box full of wonders. With a wildly entertaining cast of characters, Marie-Helene Bertino soars through her native city of Philadelphia, zeroing in with great beauty, wit, skill and love on the exact moments in time that change our lives forever'. -- Hannah Tinti, author of THE GOOD THIEF

'Once you enter the imagination of Marie-Helene Bertino-a world as weird as it is warm-you will not want to leave. Each sentence is a pop-up box: first delightful for its sweet music, then profound with the shock of truthThis is a dazzling book'. -- Eleanor Henderson, author of TEN THOUSAND SAINTS

'2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas won me over heart and soul. With Madeline Altimari, a nine year old aspiring jazz singer with a wonderful talent for cursing, Bertino has created one of the most winning and wonderful characters I've met in a long time. Read this book to see a debut author doing something really special, crafting a story where human kindness meets up with an inhospitable world and real magic happens in the aftermath.' -- Kevin Wilson, author of THE FAMILY FANG

About the Author

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of Safe As Houses, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize, and has received numerous accolades for her short stories. Originally from Philadelphia, she now lives in Brooklyn. 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas is her first novel

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Marie-Helene Bertino

More books by Marie-Helene Bertino
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...
Loading twitter updates...





Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites



I 'Lovereading' because it lets me see what new books are around with a detailed synopsis and readers' reviews.

Judith Sharp

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

Discover new authors and enjoy old favourites; oodles of literary gems to uncover at Lovereading with candid reviews from real reviewers.

Emily Wright

Lovereading tells me about new books before they hit the shelves, lets me find other authors I may like and has great prize draws!

Sheila Dale

Lovereading - a community of people passionate about reading and sharing their views. An incomparable website for book lovers.

Helen Clark

Lovereading helps me decide what real people read.

Kerry Bridges

Because of Lovereading I have broadened my reading horizons with some really great books that I probably would never have chosen myself.

Susan Walsh

I love 'try before you buy' extracts. I love the wide range of authors & genres. I love the author info. I love books!

Judi Davies