Review: Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Down a back alley in Tokyo is a coffee shop with the ability to send its customers back in time. Meet four visitors who are each hoping to time travel. The journey to the past does not come without risks and rules, the most important being that they have to return to the present before the coffee gets cold. Who would you want to meet, maybe for the last time?

My thoughts

I had seen so much praise for Before the Coffee Gets Cold, that I had to pick it up when I saw that someone was giving it away for free in my village. I started to read it almost straight away, and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

This book was unlike anything I have ever read before and written in such a way that I don’t think I will read anything similar again. Although time travel is a well explored topic, this was written with such an original twist. The story held such an emphasis on our relationships with our loved ones and the risks we would take to say what you have always wanted to say to them, and potentially the risks you would take to see them one last time.

This book is comprised of four interconnected stories and I loved this way of formatting the novel. Each quarter focuses on a different person and their story which I thought was a great way of splitting up the novel. This individual focus on one character and their story gave a simplistic air to a novel that very easily could have been complicated.

The writing was beautifully effortless and was such an enjoyable read. The rules of the time travel within the novel were very specific and the time travel would not be able to change the past, present or future. This may seem pointless but the character development that came from the character’s travels was thought-provoking and to me was the main point of the novel.

This story has been translated from Japanese to English, and at only 224 pages it is quite a quick read. The language wasn’t too flowery and the syntax wasn’t a complicated web. It was simply written with the emphasis being on the story being told and the dialogue, rather than a show of the author’s vocabulary. In my opinion, this style of writing suited the novel and made it even more charming. At times this novel felt a little slow moving but I never expected this to be an action packed novel which I think stopped me from being disappointed.

If you are a mood reader, I won’t lie to you I can’t image a mood that this would suit, however, I am also quite reliant on my mood when I choose a book and I think the fact that this is so short really helped. I would recommend this book to all readers, regardless of your age or preferred genre. It is a thought-provoking novel that begs the question, what would you change if you could go back in time?

Do you have a suggestion for the next book to add to my bookshelf? Let me know in comments.  

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