Book review: Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

How can you write about the world of time travel and still make it unique? 

Before The Coffee Gets Cold manages to pull off the miracle of combining sentimentality and magic in a web of stories and characters that you can’t help but root for.

What if you could travel back to the past or take a peek into the future? But with the knowledge that you can’t change the present, no matter what?

That’s the question the quirky characters in this short novel ask themselves, and that’s the question we ask ourselves by the end of the book.

The time to drink a coffee, so much time is given to face our regrets or reassure ourselves of a choice. And a series of conditions that, if not met, will make the unwary digressors slip into perpetual oblivion.

But if we can change neither the past nor the future, what is the point of taking such risks? Is everything really immutable?

Read in one sitting, Before The Coffee Gets Cold brought me to tears on several occasions. Kawaguchi’s writing is of a simplicity that, were it not for the originality of the story, would be almost trite. And that is perhaps what made this book so enjoyable to me.