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Before the Coffee Gets Cold

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold

A Novel

If you could go back, who would you want to meet?

Bookseller Recommendation

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

“There is a small cafe in Tokyo where you can travel through time. But there are rules. Rules that dissuade most of those who come to the cafe after hearing its legend. And there are regular customers who come with no intention of traveling through time.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a feel-good listen that tells the story of some of those cafe regulars whose minds are eventually changed by their lives’ circumstances. The reasons for their journeys are varied, but all are compelled by an unyielding desire to unite with a loved one in a different time. Kawaguchi has imagined a complex and wonderfully creative set of rules for time travel in the cafe, so much so that they become central to the story and character development. She smoothly reveals the hearts and lives of each of her characters against the backdrop of the time-travel rules and the mysterious yet legendary cafe.

There are lovers, sisters, mother and daughter, husband and wife, and a ghost. Uniting them all are love, sorrow, regret, redemption, and most of all, hope. This uplifting tale of human connections is especially worth the listen in our current time of pandemic and feelings of isolation.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store


In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café 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 café 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?

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About the author

Toshikazu Kawaguchi was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971. He formerly produced, directed and wrote for the theatrical group Sonic Snail. As a playwright, his works include COUPLE, Sunset Song, and Family Time. The novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold is adapted from a 1110 Productions play by Kawaguchi, which won the 10th Suginami Drama Festival grand prize.

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