Cover Image: Tales from the Cafe

Tales from the Cafe

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Member Reviews

A follow-up to Before the Coffee Gets Cold, a heartwarming collection of stories about a time-traveling café in Tokyo.

I will say that I truly enjoyed getting to know even more about the characters (from both books). I didn't enjoy it as much as Before the Coffee Gets Cold, but I absolutely love this cast of characters.
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Having read “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” I was excited to read this next installment. Can be read as a stand-alone novel, enjoyable and thought provoking enough for 3 stars from me. 

**I received an electronic ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review of this book.
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  If there was a place where you could turn back time, would you go there?  There is a cafe in Tokyo, hidden away, where urban legends say this can be done.  Many of the people who seek it out go away once they learn there are some hard and fast rules, the biggest one being you cannot change anything that will affect the present.  Since that would be the reason why most would want to turn back the clock, it reduces the number of patrons.  There are other rules, including the need to return before a cup of coffee turns cold or be turned into a ghost.  And the only person with whom you can visit is someone who has been to the cafe in their lifetime.

It is an interesting premise and has four  tales of people who are willing to go back, who need to say or do something so that they can move on with their own lives.  There is also an fascinating dynamic with the people who work in the cafe and their relationship with the “gift” they offer.  The stories are bittersweet but moving.  Four purrs and two paws up.
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** Thank you to NetGalley and Hanover Square Press for providing me with an eArc in exchange for an honest review **

This is a sequel/companion to the first book, Before the Coffee Gets Cold. I follows the same premise of a café that offers its visitors a chance to travel to the past or future. Like the first book these short stories are wholesome, heartwarming, emotional and interconnected. I highly recommend reading the first book as characters from those stories make appearances in this book. These appearances add to the individual stories and enrich the reading the reading experience. There are some story reveals that answer questions posed in the first book and it was just a comfy read.

If you are looking for a cozy, comfort read that isn't very long that tells stories of the human experience in a wholesome and heartwarming way. I would highly recommend this short story series.
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The sequel to Before the Coffee Gets Cold follows the same format of the first book. The characters are all recurring (definitely read the first one before reading this one) and we have four more people that are interested in traveling in time. The rules are repeated (again and again) but we find out more about the characters in the cafe, including the woman in the white dress reading her novel.

I think, because I had recently read the first book, that I enjoyed this one more than the first one. I was used to the writing style. I remembered more of the characters and I wanted to know more about them. The writing style definitely takes some getting used to and with these short books, it was tough to adjust to at first. The sentences are short and the author repeats a lot of information. The characters all have Japanese names and it is tough to keep straight. But by the second book, I definitely got it more.

If you liked the first book, you'll definitely like this one.
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Enjoyable sequel.
It was delightful to return to Cafe Funniculi Funnicula, where one can return to the past (or possibly go ahead to the future) for a short time, as long as you return before the coffee gets cold. This is a short novella, a series of vignettes that twine together as the various people come to the cafe in order to speak to someone from the past. A man wants to talk with his friend whose daughter he raised when the friend died young. Another man wants to give his wife the birthday gift he was never able to give her. A man who knows he is dying wants to travel to the future to speak to the girl he loves, and a son with regrets wants to talk to his mother again. There are rules that must be followed, and often the results of the visits are not what either party expects from the journeys.

As with the first book in the series, I partially listened to this as an audiobook and partially read it on the page. The audiobook helps me to get the pronunciations of the Japanese names, but the print helps me to see how the stories interconnect.

This is a conteplative tale, the repetition of the rules gets a little tedious, but overall those who sit at the table and travel through time receive what they desire from the encounters and more. They receive closure, confirmation of decisions, and most of all, forgiveness for perceived wrongs. It's always interesting to see that those who the travelers go to visit often have a completely different view of the events or situations than those they are visiting. It allows the reader to think back about regrets and realize that just because we might feel a certain way about something, it doesn't mean that the other person has the same view.

Overall I have enjoyed the two books in this series, hopefully if there is a third book the author can just say "the rules were explained" rather than listing them out one by one every single time.
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I didn’t read the first book but, I will be righting that wrong soon. This book was beautifully written and packed with emotion. I was hit with emotions with every story and cried throughout most of the book. Definitely will be recommending the book for a very long time.
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Until the final chapter, I would have only described this book as "melancholy." Each little vignette was even more poignant than the first book, to the point where I could only read one at a time before I needed to go do something more cheerful. But the whole story ended so lovely, it really is worth reading. Just make sure you're in the right frame of mind! You will meet new characters, but learn so much more about characters you met in Before the Coffee Gets Cold. Savor this one!
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I really enjoyed this follow-up novel to Before the Coffee Gets Cold. Let me take a moment here to recommend that you read that before starting this book--you'll likely still enjoy Tales from the Café, but you might understand just a bit more.

Funiculi Funicula is a café where locals say you can visit to travel back in time. With several of my favorite characters from Before the Coffee Gets Cold, there is more to this back alley café than just their coffee. I loved the visitors and the stories that were told. There were several moments that made me tear up because I loved the way that Toshikazu Kawaguchi viewed the situation. One particular story that regards loss really touched my heart.

This was a quick and fun read and I highly recommend adding it to the top of your read list.  Thank you to Hanover Press for an advanced reading copy for an honest review. I'm so glad to have added this to my list this year!
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Tales from the Cafe is about a magical cafe where time travel takes place. However, there are rules. You can travel to the past or the present, but the person you are trying to reach has to have visited the cafe at some point, anything you do or say will not alter the future or past, you cannot get up from the time traveling spot, and most importantly, you mush drink the coffee before it gets cold or you will turn into a ghost. 

I read Before the Coffee Gets Cold when it came out last year and enjoyed it. I like the short story format and the fact that the tales are unlike anything that I have ever read. I think both books would make great plays! While I've enjoyed both books, they are not something that I just can't put down, it took me a couple weeks to finish it, but each story had its more engrossing parts which pushed me to finish. Also, since its been a couple years since the last book came out, I forgot who what who in the cafe, a cast of characters would definitely be helpful. If the author writes another book in the series I would definitely pick it up, I like that its original and kind of quirky.
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A well done continuation of stories from the Cafe. We definitely get more insight into the mechanics of the time travel, how it works, and who the mysterious woman is. The stories pack an emotional punch and keep you turning the page for the next installment. Highly recommended!
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3.5., rounded up. Kawaguchi continues the world-building he established in his first book, introducing new customers to the café while also updating readers on the lives of those working there. Reading it felt like coming back to a familiar haunt--cozy, warm, yet intriguing enough to keep me on my toes. Some of the writing still feels a bit elusive, but I was used to some of that from Kawaguchi's previous book.
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Read Before the Coffee Gets Cold before you read this. Then, grab a good cup of coffee (tea will do as well), and sit down to enjoy a heartwarming continuation of the stories of the employees and customers of Funiculi Funicula, a little and hard to find coffee shop in Tokyo. Other than amazing sound coffee, it also has the ability to let customers visit a moment in the past or future. Of course there are some rules and I might have been okay without them constantly being restated to the various customers, but it feels like part of the ritual and adds to the reader's anticipation of events to come. I loved how some of the characters met in the first book returned. I also loved the continuation of the story of the owners/employees of the coffee shop. Reading this book is like meeting a good friend for a nice coffee date. I hope there are more installments in this series! I am here for them!
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4.5
Happy to return to the mystical cafe Funiculi Funicula and some of our beloved characters. Definitely would not recommend reading this without reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold. Themes of love and loss and obligation. Will eagerly await the translation of book three.
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Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of Tales From the Cafe!

I absolutely loved Before the Coffee Gets Cold, and I was very excited to read the sequel. Unfortunately, I didn't love Tales from the Cafe as much. I still love the premise, that people can go back or forward in time from a specific seat in a coffee shop following a very specific set of rules. I think the setting and premise are very well-contrived, but I felt that the characters in this volume didn't pull me in as much. In the first volume, I found myself always wanting to know more about each character, and I loved the ways that things about the characters were revealed through their traveling back in time. In this one, I felt that the stories were a bit more convoluted and that the author was trying to tie the stories together in multiple ways that just felt a bit forced. The writing style is lovely, and I still enjoyed many aspects of the book, but I just didn't love it in the way I loved the first one. 

If you've read Before the Coffee Gets Cold, you may enjoy this one as well, but if you haven't read the first one, I highly recommend starting there!
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Over the last few years, I've been trying to read more translated fiction. That is how I discovered Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Japanese author Toshikazu Kawaguchi in 2019. When I saw there was a sequel coming out I was excited - so excited that I requested both the audiobook and the e-ARC via Netgalley in hopes of being approved for at least one. I got approved for both versions!

I started with the audiobook because I was at work and had finished the audiobook I had been listening to. Tales from the Cafe felt very much like the first book. The same stark language - it's as if someone else is re-telling you a story. That feeling is made stronger by the fact it is told in third person. I remembered from reading the previous book that it started a little slow but since I knew what to expect with this volume I had hoped to get into the story a bit quicker. 

As I was also working on my book club book (another Japanese novel) I continued listening to the audiobook. I didn't like the narrator reading the book. He felt detached from what he was reading. It felt flat and for a book that is only five and a half hours it took me days to get to the halfway point. As I felt it had more to do with the audiobook rather than the book, I picked up the e-ARC yesterday morning. In just a few hours I had it read.

If you haven't read the previous book. that's okay. Outside of the cafe owners, the characters that visit the cafe to time travel are all new. You should prepare yourself that these stories will feel like reading short stories at first. There is also a bit of repetition with each chapter as the person coming to the cafe has to be told the rules of time travel.

If you have read the previous book, the format of Tales from the Cafe is exactly the same. You will also feel very satisfied as there are mentions of the characters from Before the Coffee Gets Cold.

While I haven't read Japanese literature extensively, the few books I have read have been similar in style. On the surface, it seems very minimalist and almost without emotion. Someone at book club mentioned that they felt like they were looking down on the story (in reference to the book we read) and that is an apt description for Tales from the Cafe. Yet, the book is not without emotion. Many of the characters are sobbing and happiness is a prominent theme. 

I thought it is interesting that there is a little section about the Japanese language. It felt kind of like a tangent and I had to wonder if it had been added for the English-speaking audience. It is mentioned that Japanese uses "onomatopoeic expressions to communicate sounds". That device is employed in the story  - such as the tears dropping to the table. It is this subtle means of infusing emotion into the story that gives it a lyrical quality, but you must read closely to catch it.

There is quite a bit of repetition in the story. It goes beyond the repeated rules and I don't remember it from the previous book. However, it also adds to the poetic feel of the writing style. It's like every time the character's story is retold (or maybe restarted is a better word) the reader gets another layer added.

There could be many more volumes of stories from the cafe, but as a two-volume series, it feels very complete and satisfying. Both are short, quick reads so it would be easy to read both of them in a weekend if you haven't read the first book yet.

My review will be published at Girl Who Reads on Sunday, Oct. 9 - https://www.girl-who-reads.com/2021/10/tales-from-cafe-by-toshikazu-kawaguchi.html
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I adored the first book in this collection, and I loved this one, too! It was fun revisiting some of the characters from the previous round. These stories are lovely, sad, happy, heartbreaking- and both of these books are just good for the soul.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy!
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You don’t need to have read the first book in order to enjoy this one because the rules are explained again…and again. Too many times if you ask me. I understand why because one of the people in this book decided to go forward in time and it’s a bit of a brain-bender to figure out the hows, whens, and whys of his decision. It wasn’t quite as good as the last one, but it was a god follow-up and a nice ending to the waitress’s story. Overall it reminds you to be happy after someone dies because it respects their life. Big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a collection of 4 short stories continuing the stories of time travel after the events of Before the Coffee Gets Cold. You should definitely read the first book before getting into this, not only because its great, but because it connects you to the characters more.

This collection got a higher rating for me than the first book because I liked all of the stories in this one and I only liked 3/4 stories in the first. I admit that I sobbed, its so sad but so sweet. 

I want to note, if you're from a western culture and reading this please keep in mind that Japanese culture is different from yours and the way people behave and act might not "correct" to you.
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Revisiting the fantastical cafe in a Japanese metropolis was like revisiting a long lost friend. I was very deeply touched by the first book Before the Coffee Gets Cold when I read it last year.  I apparently didn't ever actually post up about it here, but I did on Goodreads only, which seems really odd.  

That being said, and this may be the point of this story... is... I am righting wrongs.

So consider this, you have an opportunity to sit down with your own cup of hot coffee and you get to enter a lovely space and learn a little bit more about the people that are surrounding you and behind the counter of the beloved cafe.

The first book introduced us to the customers of the cafe but this book is more about the people of the cafe. What their tales are, how they traverse this amazing space and what they do and how they got there.  This book was something I didn't know I was missing to be honest. I didn't know that I needed these stories and mysteries as well.  
I want to give absolutely nothing away, but it was great.  We get a visit from a previous guest of the cafe and his travel back in time is so charming. I nearly forgot about his story from the first book, to be honest.  Our detective from the first story brings us into his world and lets us revisit the other patrons from the first book again. 
We learn and come full circle with the woman who has to vacate her chair for others to visit the past (or future).  What a tale that is.  

The warmth of the story is reflected in the sepia tone you get from the description of the location and it's like watching an old film, or looking at an old photograph. But with new eyes.  

The book is going to be released on October 12, 2021 and has already, and rightfully so, been chosen as a November 2021 Indie Next Pick.  

This story is so deeply touching and lovely to read.  I was so unbelievably struck by the last 10 pages, I honestly was sad when the story ended.  

Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for the advanced copy.  I am all the better for reading this book.  I look at this book and story as a way to revisit MY past in the present by making sure that I tell everyone their value now in my life.  It is a quick read from a slim but packed with resonant emotions. Don't hesitate to pick it up.  

I am going to go back and read both volumes again, because I still think there are lessons I can learn from our cafe'.   While visiting the past (or future) you can make your amends but the present doesn't change in our cafe' but it makes the current time that much more valuable and these stories provide us with that lesson.  These stories are beautiful proof of that.
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