The charming debut novel—already a phenomenon in Japan as well as a runaway UK bestseller—that asks What would you change if you could travel back in time?
Down a small alleyway in the heart of Tokyo, there is an underground café that’s been serving carefully brewed coffee for over a hundred years. Local legend says that this coffeeshop offers its customers something different—the chance to travel back in time.
The rules, however, are far from simple: you must sit in one particular seat at one particular time of day. You can’t venture outside the café, nor can you change the present. And, most importantly, you have only the time it takes to drink a hot cup of coffee—or risk getting stuck forever.
Over the course of one summer, four customers visit Café Funiculi Funicula to return to the past: a heartbroken lover looking for closure; a nurse with a mysterious letter from her husband with Alzheimer’s; the café waitress hoping for a final goodbye to her sister; and a mother whose child she may never get the chance to know.
Heartwarming, wistful, and delightfully quirky, Before the Coffee Gets Cold explores the intersecting lives of four women who come together in one extraordinary café, where the service may not be quick, but the opportunities are endless.
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“Kawaguchi meets Western tastes with an all-female cast of time travelers. As interest grows internationally to hear the voices of Japanese women, he emphatically renders heroines coping with loss and social expectations.”
Japan Times (Tokyo)