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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

BeforeTheCoffeeGetsCold #ToshikazuKawaguchi

About Before the Coffee Gets Cold

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer's, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story – translated from Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot – explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?

For fans of The Guest Cat and If Cats Disappeared from the World, Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a touching story about second chances and how we find and lose the ones we love.

My review of Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a beautifully written book about love, loss and second chances. I loved every page.

When I found out that this was a book about time travel set in a coffee shop,  well, I just knew that I had to read it. What lured me in was the notion of having one last chance to see a loved one again. The lover who got away, or a loved one who died too young. Who wouldn't grab this chance if it was offered to them? And this is what makes the book work. The fairytale becomes reality. 

Each of the four stories are told as a kind of parable. Each has its own distinct meaning and message that we take away with us. The story about a wife revisiting the cafe to meet her husband before his Alzheimer's diagnosis was particularly touching. We meet all of these four characters, all of them are reoccurring characters, as they are all frequent visitors to this small cafe in Tokyo.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is an emotive read. It makes you question your own life and the people in it. It makes you question, and then appreciate what is really important in life. It's a breath of fresh air and it's one of those books that I will read again and again. 

With thanks to the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is published by Picador on 19th September

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