Page Turner: Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Life’s filled with regrets. What if I told her I loved her? What if I didn’t put off that vital discussion? You will never know since there is no conceivable way to get a second chance. Well, unless you find a particular coffee shop.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a magical realism novel about a small coffee shop called Funiculi Funicula. While at first glance, it’s a typical cafe, there is a local urban legend floating around. According to these claims, this shop can send you back in time. Normally, rumours like this are a load of rubbish. However, in this instance, they are perfectly accurate barring a few rules.

The most important one is that you must finish your cup of coffee before it gets cold, or else you become a ghost.

The novel is split into four chapters, focusing on four different people as they travel through time. A woman trying to find out why her relationship broke down, a wife receiving an important letter, a sister wanting to apologise and a mother and child meeting. All of these stories are interconnected, not to mention the masterful foreshadowing.

It is a bit of a slower-paced novel, but just like drinking a good cup of coffee, it is better to savour it so it works here. Besides, the focus is on the visitors and employees of Funiculi Funicula, outside of that, it doesn’t exactly have a plot. Don’t get me wrong, there are no dull moments or lulls in this story. Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s tender and beautiful writing style will keep you hooked until the last page.

This book broke me. My heart hurt more than that time I had eight coffees in one day. By the time I finished this novel, my face was a mess. I was sobbing, hugging this book tight. Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, a bittersweet cup of coffee.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a sensitive surreal story that is all about love, loss and living with that. I found it to be a rather inspirational read too. I will say, I found drinking coffee while reading did truly add something special to the reading experience, although that might just be me. 

I’m more of a tea person myself, but for Before the Coffee Gets Cold, I’ll make an exception. 

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