Cover Image: Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

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Member Reviews

This book has such an interesting premise. It takes a while to get used to the translation, but once you've settled into the different nuances of the language, you start to really appreciate the different landscapes presented in this unique book. It certainly gives you lots of food for thought, and would be perfect for a book or discussion group. We got it for our collection.
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The writing (or possibly the translation?) is clunky and awkward. Characterization is pat and uninteresting. I couldn't stay with this.
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Quirky but engaging. It took me awhile to warm up to the stories in this book. If the Twilight Zone was a book with a story arc this would be it.
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Beautiful stories written in the Japanese tradition, Before the Coffee Gets Cold makes us think if correcting the past is the best way to protect our future. The only way to learn is through our mistakes.
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I liked the cover of this book, and I liked the premise: four stories about a cafe that allows you to travel through time.
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The rules of how to time travel are difficult.  There aren’t many people who even consider it worth the trouble! But the process of time travel and the supernatural quirkiness of the cafe are secondary to the stories of the people who decide they need to actual travel through time and why. There are four separate stories that all revolve around the cafe and the people who work there. The last story was my favorite!
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The writing is so simple. It could be because it was translated from Japanese or it could be that originally it was a play, or maybe it’s just the author’s style of writing. Whatever it is, I found it soothing to listen to this audiobook, though at times it was hard to tell the Japanese names apart. Below is a quote so you can see what you think of the simple tone. Also there is no mature content in this book at all.
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“He walked behind the counter and took a glass from the shelf. He pulled out a carton of orange juice from the fridge under the counter, poured it nonchalantly into the glass, and gulped it down. He took the glass into the kitchen to wash it. There was the sound of fingernails tapping on the counter. He poked his head out of the kitchen to see what was happening.”
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This book feels almost like an interconnected set of short stories - the characters are similar from story to story, but each section has its own point of view, and provides a glimpse into the inner thoughts of a new character. As the stories reveal, you gain a deeper understanding of previous stories which was really enjoyable. 

The concept was fascinating, and the narrative calming although serious issues were dealt with throughout the book. I really enjoyed reading this story and will be recommending it to friends.
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If you had the chance to go back to a moment in your past, knowing that you wouldn’t be able to change the future, would you take it? In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, there’s a small cafe in Tokyo that can give you that chance. The rules are highly specific: along with the knowledge that you cannot change the future, you can only meet people who have already been in the cafe, you can’t leave the chair that allows you to travel back in time, and you only have as long as it takes for the cup of coffee to cool. 

There are some aspects of the story that felt stilted, but I am willing to guess that it’s more of a cultural shift, since this book has been translated from the original Japanese. But the overall dynamics of the story capture something much that transcends cultural situations, the wish for answers and one more conversation with someone. The individual episodes of travel are almost short stories, but Kawaguchi has created a delicate and believable overarching story arc that unites them. Definitely recommend if you’re in the mood for a book that digs into moments of true sadness and finds the chance for joy. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
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The author’s playwriting skills are showcased in this entertaining as the four interconnected stories has the feel of a play’s four act and the scene setting feel like an intimate theatre experience.
Kawaguchi’s unique time travel elements is well integrated with the book’s theme of “who and what would you say to someone if you could go back into the past”.
This short novel is written with emotional depth that provides a satisfying heart-warming reading journey. 
With its quiet grace and insight, this book was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
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After DNF’ing a couple kindle reads I finally picked up Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Japanese playwright, Tashikazu Kawaguchi.

The premise of this story is simple: there is a small, hidden cafe and if you go and sit in a certain seat you are able to go back in time. But you must return by the time your coffee gets cold. This story follows 4 different  journeys through time. Whether it’s to say a goodbye, to see a face one last time or say something you wish you said before, you can go back as long as you abide by the strict set of rules. 

This book definitely reads like a play. I could see the cafe and how it would look on a stage. The dialogue was sort of exaggerated and certain things emphasized, like a play. I could visualize the actors and their dress. The vignettes were concise and well done. It was amazing in my head! 😅

I would categorize this one as magical realism- time travel fiction. It wasn’t a book I would normally pick up so it was fun to read something different. 

Thank you @netgalley and @harlequinbooks for this copy! 

☕️☕️☕️

Q. Would you go back in time if you couldn’t change the present?
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Fiction | Adult
<cover image>
In a back alley on the streets of Tokyo is a small, nondescript cafe with only a few tables and bar seats. One chair, however, is special. Very special. In that chair, through the steam of a cup of coffee, one can travel back in time. However, there are some very important rules. First, you cannot leave the chair. You must return before the coffee in your cup gets cold. And the present will not be changed. Despite these restrictions, in a series of interconnected stories, we witness five people travel back in time to speak with the ones they love – lovers, spouses, sisters, a mother and her daughter. And after each trip, it’s true – the present doesn’t change, as the rules state; however, each traveller returns with “a changed heart.”
Indeed, this literary fiction changes the heart of the reader too, as we read this fantastical story, thinking about whom we’d go back to see, and what we’d say, knowing that we can’t stop death or illness, but we can perhaps make up for a wrong. The chair doesn’t change the present, but it does change the person, and thus the future. This is a short but moving novel of love and loss, of regrets and understanding. An international bestseller originally published in Japanese, it is Kawaguchi’s first novel, based on an original play of his. The translation is beautifully done; there was no sense of awkwardness in the writing; in fact, it is a lyrical and tender novel. Despite the time travel device, it’s neither fantasy nor science fiction, focusing instead on relationships and the secrets in our heart that haunt us. Grand Forks residents will find a copy of this novel in the adult fiction collection; there is a short waiting list already! My thanks to Hanover Square Press for the advance reading copy provided digitally through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50991951
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This was one of the most unique books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  The cast of characters were so gently yet strongly intertwined that by the end I felt so relieved, so appreciative to have been apart of their journeys.  It was full of mysticism, had a fair share of heartbreak, yet it resounded with a hope and a truth that love stands the test of time,  and that a small moment can change so much.
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Before the Coffee Gets Cold is work that gradually draws the reader in. As each chapter and viewpoint is presented, they reveal themselves to be bound together in the larger story. The seemingly everyday staff and customers at the local coffee shop are gradually found to have a depth and the commonality of loss to their backstories that brings them together in this charming story that ends up having some weight.
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This is such an interesting story with a fascinating premise. I loved the story structure and how the story slowly unfolded in such an emotional way. It was heartbreaking and engaging and kept me thinking for days after finishing it. 
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title, all opinions and mistakes are my own.
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A beautiful and quick read. Four people choose to travel back in time with the help of a time traveling cafe. The rules are you have to sit in one particular seat, you can't leave your seat, you have to have had the past interaction in the cafe, and you have to finish your cup of coffee before it gets cold. If you could travel back in time, would you?
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Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is an unexpected diamond in the rough that at first tricks the reader into believing that time travel is the most central detail in this interconnected collection of short stories about a hidden café in Tokyo, Japan, when in fact, Before the Coffee Gets Cold is about... what is, what could be, and what could have been, all shrouded in the spirit of love and forgiveness, with its entire focus on the broken characters that the café serves. All of the café’s characters have heartbreaking struggles, just like most people in everyday life. However, even with the knowledge that in the end, nothing will actually change, each character can travel backward or forward in time, one time only, and see someone they have met within the café before their coffee gets cold. The focus on sharing coffee with a loved one... one last time is absolutely heartrending and proves that most people would give anything to see a loved one for just five more minutes, enough time for a coffee to become cold, and one last chance to celebrate a shared love and to ask for forgiveness.

A warm-hearted and much-appreciated thank you to Harlequin—Trade Publishing (U.S. and Canada), Hanover Square Press, and NetGalley for providing an advance copy! Please make sure to pick up a copy of Before the Coffee Gets Cold at your local book depository.
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I really enjoyed this short book. It touched my heart on so many levels. I wish we could've gotten more from the first couple, but overall, this was just beautiful. I really liked the premise and I hope there are other stories in the companion book.
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This is so different from the adult books I normally read, but what I heard about it intrigued me, and I'm glad I read it.  Magical realism set in contemporary Japan, it does require suspension of disbelief.  The four intertwining stories slowly allow us glimpses into the lives of the characters, all of whom are touched by a chair that allows time-travel, but only one time to one other day in that same cafe.  A feel good read that's not saccharine sweet.
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One of the best books I’ve read.  Just a sweet story and special way of looking at things.   Makes you think!
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“Drink before the coffee gets cold.”

I thought this would be a more surreal read, but these four intertwined stories paint the most heartwarming picture of an extended family of individuals who look out for each other. Also, you can time travel in the café they all occupy, either as patrons or employees. 

There are multiple rules one must follow in order to time travel through time. One states they must remain in the only seat that allows for travel. Another important one, based on the title, is to drink the coffee, which is placed in front of you, before it gets cold. Failure to follow these rules will result in you becoming a ghost, like the lovely young woman who reads her book all day and curses you if you try to interrupt her to take her seat for time travel. 

This is a wonderful read and a cozy book to curl up with this winter.
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3.5. This is a series of short stories that read more like chapters; all of them take place in a coffee shop that gives one lucky customer the ability to travel through time (with lots of rules and stipulations about how said time travel must take place--the most important of which is that the traveler must return to the present before their cup of coffee becomes cold). The first vignette isn't a smooth read; at first I dismissed the writing as clunky, but the subsequent stories flow better and tie all the characters together--overall, it's a short, light, and sweet book.

Read this if you like literature in translation and don't mind looser sci-fi.
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