Before the Coffee Gets Cold Readings 2022 bestselling book

21 January 2023

Australian bookseller Readings released a list of their top one hundred bestselling titles for 2022, yesterday. Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down, winner of the 2022 Miles Franklin award, Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen, winner of the 2022 Stella Prize, and the aforementioned Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au, are among Australian written titles to feature in the top-ten segment.

But Japanese author Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s 2019 novel, Before the Coffee Gets Cold, came in as the number one seller last year. I’m a fan of time travel stories, not to mention cafes and coffee, but am surprised to have missed this one until now:

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold…

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