2 a.m. at The Cat’s Pajamas

“Inventive, gorgeously written and unforgettable.” —Nancy Pearl, NPR Best Books of 2014 

2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS has been named a Best Book of 2014 by NPR, Flavorwire, BuzzFeed, Popsugar, The Kansas City Star, and many others. A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick for Fall ’14, Flavorwire’s “50 Fabulist Books Everyone Should Read,” recommended by The San Francisco Chronicle, Oprah Magazine, The Huffington Post, People, TIME OUT NEW YORK, Philadelphia Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and many others. It is available now in the US, UK (Picador), Turkey, and France (under the title 2 Heures du Matin a Richmond Street), forthcoming in Brazil and Sweden. 

2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas begins in a roach-infested apartment with three record players and no milk and travels through a pack of actors catching snowflakes on their tongues, beneath the crushed cigar ends of all the city’s bars, through the bedroom of the city’s meanest girl, over the memory of a withering marriage almost saved by salsa, past a pile of apples shining under a heat lamp, the chintsy star at the top of grocery store holiday display, beyond the sill of William Penn, to land on the faded floors of a tired club where a Cuban Jazz band has begun to play, its lead singer pumping and keening into the mic.

You should come.

2 a.m. at The Cat's Pajamas

BUY your copy from B&N (also for Nook) here, a signed copy from WORD BOOKSTORES or at these fine book sellers: Greenlight Books and Amazon.com.

Praise for 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS:

“Lorca, Sarina, especially Madeleine — even Bertino’s version of Philadelphia — are all imbued with such wit, flaw and charm, they deserve whatever love they’re offered.”


“(2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas) is the most charming thing I’ve ever read on my entire existence on this planet.”

Book Riot

“A marvel. I loved it.”

Maggie Shipsteadauthor of ASTONISH ME and SEATING ARRANGEMENTS

“Bertino is a true master of her craft, and readers will devour her writing…I can’t imagine a person sitting down with this book and not enjoying it.”

The Masters Review

”The novel’s true genius, though, is [Bertino’s] wry insight into her delightful characters…crafted by a writer who shows that less is more, and that perfectly worded less is magic.”

Philadelphia City Paper

“Exposes both the beauty and burden of urban living…A clever tale of missed opportunities and seized ones, Cat’s Pajamas’ characters mirror the story’s inspiration. Like jazz, they’re unruly, improvised, and endlessly impassioned.”

Austin Chronicle

“2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS won me over heart and soul. With Madeleine 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

“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 truth. This is a dazzling book.”

Eleanor Henderson, author of TEN THOUSAND SAINTS

“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, author of LIKE YOU’D UNDERSTAND, ANYWAY

“Marie-Helene Bertino bops across Philadelphia like an alley cat 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

“2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS is beautiful, alive, and moving. Marie-Helene Bertino has a mesmerising way with words. I am full of admiration for the present tense intensity in the story, the journey of twenty four hours, or rather twenty three hours and forty five minutes of reality, fifteen minutes of double time, and one eternal moment! The characters seem to me, united by the theme of loneliness, but the passage of one day and their interwoven stories bring hope. It is really touching and very funny one of those books that stays in your head long after you’ve finished it, like a song.”

Sara Crowe, author of COMPARI FOR BREAKFAST

“2 A.M. AT THE 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

“Sympathetic characters and an evocative setting combine in a story that takes some most unexpected turns. It’s thrilling to see bravery reminiscent of short story-telling translate into a novel. The dénouement had me in tears, in stitches and then doing a double take at an ending that seems to come out of nowhere.”

Claire King, author of THE NIGHT RAINBOW