Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi


Imagine you could turn back time. How far back  would you go? Who would you meet? What would you talk about? How long would you stay? 

Unfortunately there are rules, especially if you visit this tiny little cafe in a back alley in Tokyo. 

1) You can only go back to a conversation you previously had in the cafe. 

2) You can't change events that have happened.

3) You must sit in a certain seat, even if it wasn't the one you sat in last time you visited.

4) You only get one chance to return.

5) And you must return to the present time before your coffee gets cold, otherwise you will be trapped as a ghost for ever. 

This book has to be the most unusual time travel book I've ever read. It is only a small book, but an utter delight to read. When readers talk about 'uplit' books, I believe this is what they are referring to. 

The cafe is tiny but compact and gives off an incredible warmth and friendliness to not only the guests who turn up, but whoever is reading the book too. It's the kind of place you wish existed. The characters are wonderful, yet each carrying their own sorrow around. The only difficulty I had with the characters was the fact that most of their names begin with K. I found myself getting confused as to which one I was reading about. 

The story consists of a lot of telling rather than showing, but I feel that could be connected to the translation of the original story as well as the fact it was adapted from a play. However, this didn't hinder my enjoyment of the plot. 

The main theme of the book is forgiveness. Not only of other people but yourselves too. Learning to say what you really think and feel, rather than letting your anger speak for you. 

This is a heartwarming story that I would highly recommend, especially during these turbulent times. 

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