Follow my blog on Bloglovin

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Jazz Delights in Philly

2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas was an unexpected delight. I knew nothing about the book before I read this first novel by Marie-Helene Bertino. The story of the motherless Madeleine, the lovesick teacher Sarina who saw her potential and Lorca, the owner of the failing jazz club, The Cat's Pajamas. These three characters stories weave in and out of a single 24 hour day in Philadelphia. Strangers and bystanders also jump in and out of the story as we get a real idea of the world in which the novel's characters live. I think Philadelphia could also be called another main character in the book. 

Madeleine is a spunky, cussing, cigarette smoking, jazz singing fifth grader who is having a bad day. It's Christmas Eve Eve and Madeleine is about to experience her first Christmas without her beloved mother. But that's not all. In a day that starts with promise, she is expelled from school after an alteration with a classmate. Her teacher Sarina has just moved back to Philadelphia after a divorce and is anticipating seeing her high school crush at a dinner party that evening. Meanwhile, we also follow the story of the big-hearted Lorca, who inherited The Cat's Pajamas from his father and has struggled to bring the club back to the days of its jazz greatness.  All these stories connect and disconnect to create one wonderful narrative. Take a chance on this debut novel that I was lucky enough to receive from Blogging for Books