Cover Image: Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

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Member Reviews

Like the coffee it centers around, this is a rich, bittersweet tale Very atmospheric, set in a very old café in Japan, there is a specific seat where one may travel to the past - under very specific and very limiting rules. If travelling to the past will make no change to the present, would you still go? Would it change you? Would you still go? While sweet and simple on the surface, like plain black coffee, there are hidden depths to this story, just like the rich depth of a mocha coffee bean.

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold focuses on a small coffee shop that so happens to have the ability to send customers to the past. While reading the book, I felt like I was reading a series of short stories about the coffee shop, rather than one long narrative. For this particular set-up, I think the format works in making the story feel as timeless as the shop itself. In terms of the stories included, I really enjoyed how characters from past stories would enter later stories, and how the author connects everyone to each other. I did think that some of the stories could have been a bit shorter, but overall, I enjoyed the book.

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I started this but I didn’t get very far. I found the focal characters far too annoying. Fumiko was whiny. I don’t have much more to say about it.

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

The first few pages of the book eases into the story wonderfully, but eventually in Part I, we meet a character who feels so entitled to the past, but, to get there, she relies on the charity of others. The continuation of her snobby behavior was difficult to follow and even more difficult to sympathize, but to be fair, well-behaved people don't often make for the best stories, yet Fumiko was too cocky, uptight, and outright cringey to follow.

As a result of that first part, I almost quit the book. Almost. But I decided to give the second part a go and by its end, I was crying like no tomorrow. The author weaves the emotional gravity of how Alzheimer's affects a couple and how family will treat their affected loved one more technically than as family. Consequently, this displacement in relationship can be more hurtful to the patient than for family. In my opinion, this section ("Husband and Wife") should have been the start of the book, not "The Lovers." So if you're thinking about quitting the book after the first part, stick around a little longer and enjoy the ride thereon. The following stories raise heart-wrenching ideas and themes that should be integral questions in our daily lives.

There were some phrases and wordings that were lost in translation, but on hindsight, it is difficult to find corresponding substitutes for each linguistic.

Overall, Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a fantastic book illustrating the importance of past and future and the outlook we should have in our everyday lives to make the most of the present.

Run date for published review: August 6, 2020

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The premise of this book is certainly intriguing. What would you do differently if you could go back in time? There are plenty of moments we have all been in that we would like to redo—a loved one no longer with us we would love to see—a question unanswered. That is all wrapped up in this book. It was a little slow going to get into, but I quickly wanted to know more about the characters and their story.

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold has one of the most unique approaches to time travel I've ever read. While it was slow to start, I was pulled in by my growing fondness for the characters. I hope to visit the cafe again from the future with a reread, following the rules of course.

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A simple tale woven from the stories of several customers who travel in time. Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a sweet and sometimes bittersweet reminder that even if we can't change our past or our future, we can change how we look at our experiences and change how we look at our experiences and our hearts.
Each chapter contains the story and experiences of someone who has used the special chair in the unchanging and somewhat mystical cafe tucked away on a Japanese street. These stories are wonderfully interwoven to tell a bigger story about the lives of the people who live and work there. Its a poignant look at life and how we live it.

#BeforetheCoffeeGetsCold #NetGalley

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Below please find the review I wrote on Goodreads.


I was provided with a ARC by NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

This book was a trip into the Twilight Zone. As I read the first part of the novel describing the coffee shop and it's lore, the author successfully created an image of the place. It's a little creepy, a little mysterious, and very dark both literally and figuratively. The dialogue is simplistic and repetitive. I later came to understand that this story was originally a stage play. I can imagine this type of dialogue being somewhat effective in that context; however, in a novel it provided little differentiation between the characters who visited the cafe. Maybe something was lost in the translation from Japanese or this approach is simply more effective in Japanese.

I decided to read this book because of the time travel premise. Laws of physics aside (this book does not discuss science), there is a long and absurd list of rules one must follow in order to travel back in time. Four customers do time travel; though the one person who traveled to the future was the only one I found interesting. She presented the moral of the story.

Basically, you cannot time travel. But assuming you could, what would you do under a set of restrictions that basically allow you to do nothing? It becomes philosophical, and that seems to be the point.

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I'm so glad I picked this ARC up. This is a collection of interlocking short stories involving time travel in a cafe. However, the emphasis isn't on the fantastical elements of that but rather on the characters and their personal journeys. Even though several of the stories centered on grief and loss, I found the writing engaging and soothing. The writing style is perfectly suited to the stories and helps pull the reader through them.

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A subtle novel about time travel, this is divided into four sections, each featuring a story about a character's wish to either return to the past or move ahead to a future. The cafe where the time travel happens is a character in its own right, providing a kind of still-life tableau where customers can choose to follow the rules and be in the same location at a different time. Although the present can never be changed, missed opportunities may be experienced in new ways. The prose seemed awkward to me at times, perhaps because of the translation, but the Japanese sensibility was most evocative. Fans of the Netflix program Midnight Diner will appreciate the mood of these vignettes.

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The narrative was a little discombobulated, and I am not sure if that has to do with the translation, but it made it hard for me to follow the story. However, once I got past the writing I did enjoy the story as a whole. Especially the characters and the setting. Overall, a very unique story that emphasizes the importance of relationships and the time we have with those we love.

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Thank you for allowing me to read an ARC of this book! I really loved it! This is a sweet little book that is a bit hard to classify or describe. It has a time travel element, so I would say it falls into the realm of science fiction, but the time travel element really only serves to help the characters learn about themselves, so I don't feel like it functions the way time travel does in a typical time travel book. The time travel is really a mechanism for the characters to realize what is bothering them and what they need to do in the present to fix it going forward, rather than a way to fix the past or the present, since the present explicitly can't change as a result of the time travel that the characters experience. Each character has a personal issue that needs to be resolved, and I found each storyline to be very compelling. The way the characters interact with each other and the cafe itself is very beautiful, and the relationships are incredibly meaningful. This is such a lovely book, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves character-driven stories.

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Gorgeously written and such an unusual story. It was a bit difficult to discover what was going on at first, but after grasping the concept, I jumped all-in and followed the ebb and flow of the tale. It is unique and truly memorable.

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The premise for this book is quite fun, and it does have some charming and heartfelt moments. The characterization throughout is quite weak - the characters are mostly cartoonish and never quite ring true as actual people - but overall this is a pleasant and entertaining read.

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Four interlinked stories in a small Tokyo cafe where time travel is possible if you follow the rules...

I enjoyed the characters in the novel and how you learned their back stories through the stories of others.

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I do most of my reviewing on here for students, so this was a lovely treat for me. This is exactly the type of sweet, heartfelt content I needed. Such a lovely read with a unique premise.

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The title and cover design caught my eye and I dived straight in when I received an e-ARC from NetGalley. (Thank you). Before The Coffee Gets Cold is divided into four parts and takes place at a mysterious cafe where its patrons can time-travel but must return before the coffee gets cold. (Don't you love that little twist?)

We follow four different stories of characters with unresolved things in their lives. The time travel opportunity allows them the chance to reconcile past arguments, find closure, or assure loved ones and all goes well as long as they return before the coffee gets cold.

Verdict: .The four intertwined stories and characters will definitely pull at your heartstrings. Add this book to your to be read pile!

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a thought provoking book that is set in a coffee shop hidden among the streets of Tokyo. I greatly enjoyed the four different stories that was written in this book and cried through many scenes in this book. The secrets and draws of this coffee shop is that a customer can time travel to any point of their life. Their trips won't affect the present stage, but will create a resolution of sorts for the cast of colorful characters that is written in this book. This book was originally written in Japanese and translated into English. There is another book in this series that is a similar title, but with four different stories. Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café, so I do look forward to reading more from this author.

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This novel is set in contemporary Japan, in a small café . Urban legend has it that one can go back in time but one cannot change the past. Why bother? Three women will decide to time travel anyway and it will change their outlook on life. Charming book that I think will be attractive to women who enjoy to read sentimental stories.

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A quiet, thoughtful novel by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. I enjoyed reading this book slowly. Told in vignettes, we see how different people would react at being able to go back in time. A novel that is heavy at times, but also introspective and unique. I would recommend it to those who enjoy blended genres.

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