Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s Before the Coffee Gets Cold blends elements of science fiction and fantasy, focusing on human emotions and relationships, Richa Shah reviews.
It took just the word ‘coffee’ in the title to grab my attention, and what followed was quite a unique read.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a novel by Japanese author Toshikazu Kawaguchi, originally published in Japanese in 2015. The English translation, by Geoffrey Trousselot, was published in 2019.
This novel blends elements of science fiction and fantasy, focusing on human emotions and relationships. The narrative is structured around a mystical café in Tokyo, Funiculi Funicula, offering customers the chance to travel back in time. However, this time-traveling experience is subject to specific rules, the most crucial being that the individual can only stay in the past until their coffee gets cold. Interesting, isn’t it? It is also very moving and engaging and I can say I could read one chapter before my coffee got cold.
The story unfolds through interconnected tales, each dedicated to a different character visiting the café for personal reasons, whether to confront their pasts or change the course of their lives. As the characters embark on their journeys, the narrative explores themes such as love, regret, second chances, and the impact of choices on one’s life.
The time constraint until the coffee gets cold adds urgency to the characters’ experiences, emphasizing the fleeting opportunity to change the past. This constraint serves as a plot device and contributes to the emotional weight of the stories as characters grapple with the limitations of their time-traveling encounters.
Even though Kawaguchi eloquently puts it, “At the end of the day, whether one returns to the past or travels to the future, the present does not change,” with each character’s decision to venture into the past or future, a palpable sense of hope is ignited among readers and you look forward to each time travel in every chapter.
The novel has the ability to evoke deep emotions and reflections on the human condition. Readers can connect with the characters’ struggles, hopes, and desires, prompting contemplation about the nature of time, the significance of choices, and the complexities of relationships.
Overall, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is a captivating and poignant exploration of time, love, and the intricacies of the human experience, set against the backdrop of an enigmatic café. Toshikazu Kawaguchi has also penned three more books in this series— Tales from the Café, Before Your Memory Fades, and ending with Before We Say Goodbye. Grab the set, and while you’re at it, consider the question, “If you could go back, who would you want to meet?”
Pick up any or all of these books from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.