Monday, September 01, 2014
What a little gem of a book! Marie-Helene Bertino‘s first novel is told in a fresh new voice, worth listening to. At the center of the story is The Cat’s Pajamas, a fictional blues club in Philadelphia, where the story unfolds over a single Christmas Eve day and night. The chapters are titled by the hours of the day, and its events are narrated, sometimes a few different ways, in chronological order, with some intermittent flashbacks to provide some back story. The characters are a motley crew – a principle, a teacher, a young student, a jazz club owner, a cook, a couple of lovers and a couple of sorry sorts. Bertino’ conceit of the jazz riff works splendidly and the experience of the novel was music to this reader’s ears.