Before the Coffee Gets Cold- A Review by Allison

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☕☕☕☕☕

Before the Coffee Gets Cold
Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Translated from Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot

Fiction
272 pages
Published on November 20, 2020 by Hanover Square Press

Amazon | Goodreads

“If you could go back, who would you want to meet?”

Anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE fan of time travel books. Just the THOUGHT of traveling back to a time where I can see my ancestors, relive a most-treasured moment or see history happening before my eyes fascinates me.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is an odd and fascinating book.

At first, I did not even know what I was reading. It was like a puzzle; the beginning starts off completely random until you begin to piece things together little by little.  Before long, I was starting to see the picture.

A somewhat magical Tokyo café is the setting for playwright Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s debut novel. Local legend alleges that this café, which brews a very special coffee, will allow you the chance to go back in time.

So, I ask you again:  If you could go back, who would you want to meet?

Beware- with this “gift” comes certain rules that must be followed.

The most important rule? You must finish your coffee and return to the present before the coffee gets cold. If not, one can expect to roam the world, forever cursed.

Although a small novel, it packs a big punch.  The book takes place almost entirely in this café; the only time we have any mention of another location is in memories or a quick explanation of a character’s absence.  The characters are dimensional and believable, each playing their own role surrounding a quite unbelievable phenomenon. Café employee Kazu brews and serves the coffee while owner Nagare quietly runs the place. The lady in that seat makes no fuss, but you will be reminded to NOT get in her way.

(Trust me, read the book).

Customer Fasugi frequents the café every day, looking for his chance to go back and right a wrong. Kei makes the ultimate sacrifice and wants one chance to make sure she chose the right path. Hirai finds a way to tell her sister she is sorry.

I will admit I shed a few tears while reading this book.  The individual stories were so beautifully written, but not so detailed that all of your questions are answered. In fact, there are few that aren’t answered, which make me wonder if this could morph into a second book.

A beautiful story with so many feels. I loved it. My first 5-star read of 2021!

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