Book Club

BEFORE THE COFFEE GETS COLD TAKES FROM THE CAFÉ – Review

Sometimes just a coffee is really enough to be happy. Especially if the coffee is that of a small Japanese coffee shop capable of taking us back in time. Don’t think, however, that since we are talking about time travel, the book is focused on magic or science fiction. The fulcrum of this novel are human relationships, those important bonds that too often we forget to value.

The structure of the book is the same as Before the coffee gets cold, a few stories, with only the coffee shop and its history in common. But each story tells stories unrelated to the others. Compared to the first volume, this time Toshikazu Kawaguchi has also chosen to investigate the figure of the ghost who occupies the chair through which to travel in time.

Plot

In this second volume we find Kazu and Nagare again managing the small café that allows you to travel through time. Six years have passed since the birth of Miki Tokita, the daughter of Nagare and Kei, who can’t wait to pour her first coffee capable of making you travel through time.
The four chapters that make up this book are:

  • The two friends
  • Mother and son
  • The lovers
  • Husband and wife

They are practically the same themes as the first, where the titles were:

  • The lovers
  • Husband and wife
  • The two sisters
  • Mother and daughter

The stories, however, are completely different, as if already from here we wanted to emphasize the enormous difference between people and relationships, even if these are identified with the same terms. Unlike the first book, the four stories are also more closely linked to each other, each of them leads us to discover something more about the past of coffee.

A chat about Just a coffee to be happy

As mentioned, in this second volume the author tries to better understand the figure of the ghost that occupies the place that allows you to travel through time. The story is interesting and also helps to better understand Kazu’s character. The choice of revealing these backstories little by little, moving forward with the succession of stories allows us to weave the stories better than Before the coffee gets cold.
However, discovering the reality of the ghost leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, that of the things said but only half. If closing the first book I had felt complete, because every story ended in itself, I did not feel the same peace by concluding this volume. If I thought the first might be a self-contained volume, by finishing this second I sincerely hope to be able to read a sequel that answers my questions.

This is due to the fact that initially, I was not particularly interested in the mechanism of time travel. I simply took it as an axiom that women in the Tokita family had the power to travel through time. But just a coffee to be happy instead opened the Pandora’s box of my curiosity. And here the stories told ceased to be the center of the novel, I was captured by the “how” of time travel.

Except that this is never exactly explained. A little more about the Tokita family is told, but it always remains smoky and background compared to other stories. In short, I don’t know if it was I who focused on the wrong focus or if the author’s intent was actually to stimulate this curiosity. My hope is to find all the explanations in a further volume. Right now I have so many questions in my head that I can’t think of anything else.

In conclusion

If you loved Before the coffee gets cold, get ready to immerse yourself in a similar story, but at the same time capable of giving you completely new sensations. Some poetry is lost to gain curiosity about the world created by the author and the protagonist’s family. The stories that revolve around coffee continue to make us reflect on the importance of dedicating our time to those we love because we never know how much time we have left to dedicate to them.

I was afraid of colliding with a repetitive plot, in which the concepts were always the same but re-proposed in a new sauce, instead, I found myself in front of a book capable of giving me completely new emotions.

Now I just hope that there really is the sequel, because I need to understand why certain things and maybe even find out how it all started!

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