Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (A Review and a Give-away)

I can picture the café with its windowless room in sepia tones, the three clocks all pointing to different times, and the aromatic coffee coming from a silver kettle, pouring slowly into the cup of the person who is sitting in that seat. The seat which is usually occupied by a woman in a white dress, who is destined to sit there forever, a ghost of her former self.

She didn’t follow the rules, apparently. The rules which state that if you want to go to the past, you are allowed to do so if the person you want to see has been to the café before, if you realize that you will not be able to change the present, and if you finish your conversation before the coffee grows cold.

The steam from the coffee shimmers as you gradually shift from the present to the past. And, there are a few people who wish to do exactly that. One wants to know why she didn’t stop her boyfriend from leaving for America. Another wants to give his wife a letter in a brown envelope, which he has been carrying around for quite some time. A third longs to meet with her sister, from whom she hid, before she was in a car accident; the fourth longs to see the face of her daughter…

What would you want to change, who would you want to meet, for one last time?


Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi would have been a good choice for the Japanese Literature Challenge 14 read along. So many of you have read and reviewed it already! I am getting to the party where the coffee is already getting cold, but what a fascinating book it is. If you would like to enter the give-away for a copy of your own, please mention it in your comment below. (U. S. only, please.)

Find more reviews at The Reading Life, Clearwater Daybook, and Real Life Reading.

Congratulations to the winner who is Words and Peace!

21 thoughts on “Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (A Review and a Give-away)”

    1. Isn’t it an intriguing premise? I’m finding that one of the hardest things about “growing up” (older) is how I wish I could touch base with a loved one again. Say, “I’m sorry,” perhaps, or just make sure that things are smooth between us.

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    1. This novel stirs up lots of wishes, doesn’t it? And yet, it made me more hopeful than sad.

      I would like to see my son in his fifties, too, twenty years from now. ☺️

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      1. The idea’s excellent, the execution flawed, both in the original writing (outside the pivotal scenes, the set-up is very hazy) and some of the translation, too.

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  1. Indeed, this book’s been doing the rounds! I’m not signing up for the giveaway as I already have a copy. Just wanted to leave a thought on the book cover — I think that’s some interesting art. Has it been knowingly downplayed as an “older” edition because we’re playing with time? Would love to know how they decide book cover art

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  2. I have been meaning to read this book – the rep who sold it into us still raves about every time we see him. And It’s slim – I could probably read it in a w/e. And you made it sound very enticing….

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  3. I’m so intrigued by the premise of this one. After all, we all have a loved one or someone we’d want to meet one last time right? No need to enter me in the giveaway as I do have this one on my TBR stack but looking forward to reading it.

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  4. Fascinating and a real treasure which I would cherish and enjoy. So meaningful. Thanks for your beautiful feature and giveaway.

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  5. Since I am older a book like this is memorable as it is profound and unique. What a special book to enjoy especially when I continue to ponder life in the past.

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    1. I’m so glad it arrived, and I’m sorry it took awhile for me to get it in the mail. It seems to be the “it” book of the challenge, and I do hope you enjoy it.❤️

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