Book Review: Before The Coffee Gets Cold

photo of coffee mug on top of book
two chairs, table with a lamp and two cups of coffee on it and a cat on the floor.
Categories: , ,
ISBN: 9781335430991
Published: 11/17/2020
Page Count: 272
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…

If I were given the opportunity to travel back in time, and my time there depended on how quickly my coffee turned cold, I would bring my cup warmer with me. Toshikazu Kawaguchi, author of Before The Coffee Gets Cold, did a great job at making this a COZY magical realism/sci-fi novel (not sure if there is such a sub-genre). Although, we are reading about time travel, and a ghost that stands between the travelers present and past, we also are simultaneously drawn into this comfy cafe setting with well connected customers supporting each other through their individual pains of the heart. Life has moments of hardship that most people given the opportunity, would want to travel back in time to change the trajectory of their futures, but would you time travel if you knew nothing would change?

I love how Kawaguchi opens the reader’s heart to the unperceived circumstances of each of the four time traveling characters. Each chapter is the story of a lover, a wife, a sister, and a mother. When they travel back and or into the future, the reader is on edge during the these nail biting moments for the characters do not have much time before their cup of coffee goes cold. Not only do you feel a little anxious for them, but you’re also filled with their sense of anguish and despair. Although, the characters experience what could be real life situations that are devastating, Kawaguchi still give his readers a light ending of resolve.

“It doesn’t change the present, right, … but what about the things that happen later, from now on? What about the future?… As the future hasn’t happened yet, well that’s up to you.”

Dialogue between Fumiko and Kazu

This was such an enjoyable book, that I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Tales from the Cafe, Before Your Memory Fades, and Before We Say Goodbye.

This is one of our picks for our CB’s Audiobook Cooking Club! Club members receive weekly recipes along with a virtual cooking class and book meeting each month! Join us today and feed your bookish foodie hunger!

One, maybe unusual book I would pair with this novel, would be Tamar Adler’s The Everlasting Meal Cookbook: Leftovers A-Z. The idea of taking leftovers (food from the past) and repurposing it for a future meal, feels like some magical time stretching tricks:)

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