Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Review by Tricia Nelson)
2 min read
Rating: 4.5 stars
I was thrilled to visit cafe Funiculi Funicula once again with this second installment of the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series. I loved the first book, but you do not have to read them in order to enjoy them immensely.
The premise of the series is interesting – what if there was a cafe that enabled you to travel through time? There are, however, rules!
You can only meet someone who has also visited the cafe
You can not get up from your seat
You can not change the present (even if you try it won’t work)
There is only one seat in the cafe that you can time travel in, which is often being used by a ghost
And last, but not least, you have to return before your coffee gets cold!
One might look at the rules and think, why bother? Well, this series and the four stories in this installment explain why, making this a story that will stick with the reader. Each section of the book gives you another reason. There is the man who has raised his best friend’s child as his own, a young man who missed his mother’s funeral, a lover who travels to the future (!) to see the woman he could not marry, and a detective that wants to give a gift to his wife.
We also learn more about the people we met in the first book who own, work in and frequent the cafe. We learn a lot about their back stories, and what has happened to them in the time where the first book leaves off and this one begins. Their characters are much more a part of this book, while in the first book they were more supporting characters. You will even learn more about the woman reading the book in the cafe! One of my favorite characters was feisty Miki, a young girl who has grown up in the cafe and desperately wants to be older and be part of the mystery of the time travel ceremony. She brings light and laughter to characters in the book when they are struggling most.
The writing is at times very beautiful and the imagery is powerful. The author has crafted a book that draws you in and keeps you there, waiting to see what will happen next, while at the same time giving the reader a book that has four logical sections that make it easy to pick up and read a bit and then come back to later.
This is a great book for a vacation, would be great for book club discussions, or for anyone who is looking for a story that is just a little bit different.
I highly recommend! I received an advance e-copy of this book from the Girly Book Club Blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I am grateful for the opportunity.