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Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

13 reviews

kestrel's review against another edition

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emotional funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

 I really like the concept: a normal place like a cafe, but there is a magical element to it. Although it reminded me a little of the kdrama Mystic Pop-Up Bar, this book lacked the impact. All 4 stories were very on the surface level and, frankly, pretty sexist. The last story, especially, disappointed me a lot, considering the dangerous message it sends and made me think about the rest of the stories more carefully. I realized that all of them had the female character compromise with what the society expected from her, even if it meant sacrificing her time, dreams, or life.
Men-talk-with-women-before-writing-about-them-challenge! 

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sadietcrock's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated

5.0


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alannakitty97's review

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emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0


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gm_vak's review

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emotional hopeful lighthearted reflective relaxing slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0


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mme_carton's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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aseel_reads's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

this was a wholesome story - the idea of travelling back in time to see people you care for is so beautiful and meaningful. I really liked the rules the cafe had in place, I think it made it realistic and contained, while also allowing the person who travelled back, to grow/change, which is also realistic (we can only control our own growth/actions). the writing was very to the point, which was great and made it more impactful (sharp and sweet). there were just a few paragraphs that felt a bit more information dumping, like about the festival or dementia. otherwise I had a great time trying to not cry in public 

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lilifane's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

I was interested in this book for a long time becuase the premise sounded so amazing. I mean, mention time travel and you've got my attention. But then people who read it were disappointed and the reviews weren't that great so I got wary. 
Therefore, I was really surprised that I liked the book so much? Granted, the conclusions of the stories were a little weird and I personally don't really agree with them. But I liked the characters and the world building and the way the stories were all connected to each other. Also, loved the rules of time travel here and how they were used and explored. 
I've seen there are more books in the series now and I will probably check them out someday because I hope the lady in the dress will be explained in one of them. :D

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kitkath's review

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reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0


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thebacklistborrower's review against another edition

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emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a fantasy realism novel about a 10-seat cafe in a back alley of Tokyo that lets you travel back in time (with many rules). The book is divided into four parts, each following the story of somebody who travels back in time to face their past. A young woman visits a man the day they broke up, a wife visits her husband before Alzheimer’s took him from her, two sisters visit one last time, and a mother visits her daughter.

Originally a screenplay, the book reads as one. Entrances and exits are prominent, tone, sounds, and movements are exaggerated. I think knowing this improved the experience of reading the book, and overall I enjoyed the stories.

What I really liked about this book were the rules to travelling in time: only one seat in the cafe sends you back in time, you can only visit people who have visited the cafe, you cannot leave your seat, you must return before your coffee gets cold, and nothing you do will change the present. To me, this was an incredibly unique take on time travel, and raises interesting points as to why the various people travel to the past. If you can’t change anything, why bother? Each struggle with the question in their own way and come to justify it for their own reasons. 

I’d recommend this book to people who enjoy emotional books, or fantasy realism. If somebody is a big sci-fi nerd who wants to read about the mechanics and theory of the particular type of time travel, they will be disappointed. However, as somebody who knows a lot of time travel mechanics and “physics”, I enjoyed imagining how it all worked and didn’t feel this was a gap in the story at all. 

Instead of mechanical details, there was a deep level of physical and emotional detail in the book, from the character's movements to their internal thought processes. It made the book very immersive and I felt very connected to the characters and the space, but it never felt heavy or exhausting. This is a great lighter read for people looking for an escape.

 

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invaderlinz's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring mysterious sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5


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