I had completely missed out on Before the Coffee Gets Cold earlier. But when I was visiting my sister in London (a month ago – but due to Corona quarantines this seems much longer) this book was staring me in the face everywhere. And it had a cat on the cover (spoiler alert: the cat does not feature in the book) and it is about Time Travel (and have I ever been able to resist Time Travel?). Let’s say it was not a big surprise when this book ended up in my suitcase to bring home.
If you could travel into time for the duration of one cup of coffee and without a single chance of changing anything in the present, would you?
The little amount of Japanese books I have previously read, made it clear to me that plot is not the main feature of Japanese literature. I read that Before the Coffee Gets Cold was meant as a play, and it reads that way. But I liked it nevertheless, since I like plays. We follow four people who for various reasons take the trip, and the stories are becoming more and more intimate as the book progresses.
There is a lot of repetition, but since I read the four stories on different days (treating them as a short story each), this did not bother me. I was surprised by the amount of emotion that was conveyed through these 200-odd pages. It touched me more than I expected. Do not however, expect to be given an explanation of the time travel, since there is none.