“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

About the book, from Harper Collins:

If you could go back in time, who would you want to meet?

In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else besides coffee—the chance to travel back in time.

Over the course of one summer, four customers visit the café in the hopes of making that journey. But time travel isn’t so simple, and there are rules that must be followed. Most important, the trip can last only as long as it takes for the coffee to get cold.

Heartwarming, wistful, mysterious and delightfully quirky, Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s internationally bestselling novel explores the age-old question: What would you change if you could travel back in time?”

About the Author, Toshikazu Kawaguchi:

“Toshikazu Kawaguchi was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971. He formerly produced, directed and wrote for the theatrical group Sonic Snail. As a playwright, his works include COUPLE, Sunset Song, and Family Time. The novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold is adapted from a 1110 Productions play by Kawaguchi, which won the 10th Suginami Drama Festival grand prize.”

Why I selected Before the Coffee Gets Cold for the December 2022 Giveaway:

  • This book is a thoughtful look at grief and mourning while still leaving you feeling hopeful and at peace. It’s a great book to read as you think about how you might want to focus your time – and your life – in the new year we will soon be welcoming!
  • This gnome loved the weaving of characters throughout the short stories. Although the interactions with each of the characters are relatively short, there is depth to them and their motivations.
  • The setting is wonderful: there is an evocative contrast between the cafe’s starkness and the employees’ pragmatism versus the etherealness of the ghost and time travel.
  • This set of stories provides a unique look at time travel – as well as a thoughtful examination of why the different characters wanted to travel through time.
  • The writing style builds a strong sense of place – you might feel like you’re watching a play unfold as you are reading it (which makes sense since it was originally written as a play!). But the translation (both into a novel format and into English!) was incredibly well-done.
  • Finally, the title and cover are PERFECT for this set of stories ❤

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