There's a cafe, and in that cafe there's a seat, and from that seat a person can travel in time. There are a lot of rules (you can't leave your seat or you are instantly transported back), a time limit (you must finish your coffee before it gets cold) and you must except that you can't change the present, no matter what you do. Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a story told in four parts, four different people have a desire to travel in time for various reasons. There are some seriously sad moments in this book, but overall it's really a story about these characters having a moment they wanted back just so they can move on in their life without the a huge what-if weighing on them. The story is simple, the emotions complex, and I really enjoyed my time spent in the hole-in-the-wall cafe.— Jason
This was a charming and disarming book, perfect in its written simplicity and perfect in the power of its messages. We all wonder about alternative paths in our lives. In a very simple setting - a tiny coffeehouse - four people travel in time (three backward, one forward) and gain wisdom from a very brief encounter with important people from their lives. They don't necessarily get what they want; they get what they need. Kawaguchi’s book is inventive, a joy to read that is packed with the punch of a much longer book.— Kay Wosewick
December 2020 Indie Next List
“This was the most interesting and wholesome take on time travel I have ever read. Everything in the world is totally normal, but if you sit in a specific seat in a specific cafe in Tokyo, you can travel back in time. There are some rules in order to time travel, but my favorite one? You can only stay in the past for as long as your coffee is warm. This charming and emotional story of four different women teaches about the importance of making the most with the time you’re given.”
— Lauren Suidgeest, Schuler Books (Grand Rapids), Grand Rapids, MI
If you could go back, who would you want to meet?
In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a caf that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else besides coffee--the chance to travel back in time. Over the course of one summer, four customers visit the caf in the hopes of making that journey. But time travel isn't so simple, and there are rules that must be followed. Most important, the trip can last only as long as it takes for the coffee to get cold. Heartwarming, wistful, mysterious and delightfully quirky, Toshikazu Kawaguchi's internationally bestselling novel explores the age-old question: What would you change if you could travel back in time?