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  • Writer's pictureThe Dabblers

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Queen's Gambit Walter Tevis

This is one of the sweetest, most inoffensive books we've read in a long time. Not especially groundbreaking, but as dainty and charming as the cover suggests.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is divided into four short stories set in a time-travel coffee shop in Tokyo - characters wishing to travel back in time, must finish their coffee and return to the present, before the coffee gets cold.

A short and sweet read, this is the book for you if you're after a little light relief from all the heaviness of the outside and online worlds.

Publisher’s Blurb

What would you change if you could go back in time?

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a cafe 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 cafe'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 cafe, 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?

Read the book, listen to the podcast, and tell us what you think.


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