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The Red 'n' Green

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The Red 'n' Green

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The Red 'n' Green

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Book Review: ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ by Toshikazu Kawaguchi offers exciting twist on time travel

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“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, a Japanese author and playwright, is an emotional magical realism book. The book was first published on Dec. 6, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. 

The novel is four different stories of people who travel through time in a small café. The four stories are all intertwined in small ways through the café staff that are in every story and the regulars in the café. 

The time travel in the café is a very interesting concept, especially with the special rules there are. The first rule is that people going through time can only meet someone that has been to the café; the second is that no matter what happens when they go to the past, they cannot change the present; the third rule is that they have to sit in one specific seat to travel through time; the fourth is that they must remain in that seat for the duration of their visit; and the fifth is that there is a time limit, they must return before the coffee gets cold. 

The book is a very quick read at just over 200 pages, and it was a joy to read. The stories are all emotional and important in their own way, the first one about a woman going back to save her relationship, the second of a wife going back to receive a letter from her husband who has started to lose his memory to dementia, the third of a woman going back to make up with her sister before she dies, and the fourth being a mother going to the future to see her child that she will die giving birth to due to her heart problem. 

Another interesting part of the book has to do with the seat they must sit in to travel. There is a ghost who sits in that seat for most of the day, and to go through time they must wait for her to get up and go to the bathroom, which she only does once a day. The ghost is a woman who went back in time to see her dead husband and let the coffee get cold. If the coffee gets cold, the person in that seat will die and become the ghost that sits in the café. Even with this stipulation, people still choose to risk it and visit someone. 

The whole book was very captivating and enthralling, with many tear jerking moments. I recommend it to everyone, it was lovely. 

Rating: 5/5

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About the Contributor
Tess Kujawa, Editor-in-chief
Tess Kujawa is a Berlin High School junior. She is excited to spend the year writing for the Red ‘n’ Green as the social media manager. She is also a part of the band, the student council, and is president of the finance club.