“In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than 100 years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time….
From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold comes a story of four new customers each of whom is hoping to take advantage of Cafe Funiculi Funicula’s time-travelling offer.
This beautiful, simple tale tells the story of people who must face up to their past, in order to move on with their lives. Kawaguchi once again invites the reader to ask themselves: what would you change if you could travel back in time?” (Amazon)
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my e-copy of this book.
Review of Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
My rating: 4.5/5
I had a pleasure of reading Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café almost immediately after finishing the first book, and it has been a wonderful experience to get lost into this story yet again.
The small café in Tokyo serves not only coffee but offers the customers a possibility to go back in time. Or to visit the future. But there are many rules for time travel. So many that most people don’t decide to do so, and those who do need to abide by the rules. Going back to the past won’t change the present, and they need to return to the present before the coffee gets cold. Similarly, to the first Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s, those – and more – rules are repeated multiple times throughout the book, highlighting both their importance and the effect they have on those wishing to travel back in time (or to the future).
What I loved the most about Tales from the Café is the fact that alongside new faces, new travellers, we meet or hear about those who have appeared in the first book. And it’s lovely to see how their stories continued and that many of them found their path and happy ending.
When I was reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold, I found myself getting more and more interested in those working in the café, not just the customers wishing to visit the past. Each of them had an interesting story to tell, and I was happy to get to know some of them better in Tales from the Café. I loved the portrayal of Nagare and Miki’s father-daughter relationship, little Miki always bringing so much joy to the café and those around her even in their moment of grief. Kazu’s story coming to a hopeful ending has also been a beautiful narrative.
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café has a beautiful, though slow at moments, narrative. Grief and hope resonate throughout the whole book as different characters visit the past and future to find their closures and the way to move on with their lives. It’s one of those books that stay in your mind for a long time.
Who is the book for: If you already read Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s Before the Coffee Gets Cold, you’ll enjoy this follow-up to the previous novel. I wouldn’t recommend reading it as standalone as it refers to many characters that appear in Before the Coffee Gets Gold and brings narrative nicely together. You can get your copy here when it’s released on 17 September.