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If you could go back, who would you want to meet?
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?
Japanese playwright Kawaguchi's evocative English-language debut is set in a tiny Tokyo caf where time travel is possible. In four connected tales, lovers and family members take turns sitting in the chair that allows a person to travel back in time for only as long as it takes a single cup of coffee to cool. In "Husband and Wife," a nurse goes back in time to visit her husband before his Alzheimer's erased her from his memory; in "The Sisters," a woman visits her younger sister, who died in an accident while trying to visit her, to apologize for not seeing her. Kawaguchi's characters embark on lo-fi, emotional journeys unburdened by the technicalities often found in time travel fiction notably, they are unable to change the present. The characters learn, though, that even though people don't return to a changed present, they return "with a changed heart." Kawaguchi's tender look at the beauty of passing things, adapted from one of his plays, makes for an affecting, deeply immersive journey into the desire to hold onto the past. This wondrous tale will move readers.
Before The Coffee Gets Cold
A very novel enjoyable story