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Toshikazu Kawaguchi Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Before the Coffee Gets Cold (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a Japanese literary fiction author born in 1971 in Osaka, Japan. He was formerly the director, producer, and writer for “Sonic Snail,” a small theatrical group. As a playwright, he wrote several critically acclaimed titles that include “Family Time,” “Sunset Song,” and “Couple.” He adapted his bestselling novel “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” from the play “1110 Productions” that was the winner of the grand prize at the 10th Suginami Drama Festival. The novel has sold more than 800,000 copies in his native Japan and has also been adapted into a movie. Kawaguchi has sold the rights to the novel in more than nine jurisdictions including Turkey, China, Hungary, Germany, and the Czech Republic. “Das Magische Café from Droemer Knaur” the German version of the novel has been highly successful as had been the Chinese edition in Taiwan.

Similar to many Japanese authors such as Yukiko Motoya and Toshiki Okada, Toshikazu Kawaguchi started his career as a playwright before he became an author. “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” that was formerly a critically acclaimed play had to be adapted to a different writing style to become the best-selling novel. One of the editors at Sunmark became interested in the play and convinced Kawaguchi to convert it into a novel. It took many rewrites as he had to revise the description of character movement, extend scenes, and pace the story differently. He also had to flesh out the story given that plays generally tend to be shorter than novels. Still, it was not that easy getting published as the managing editor at Sunmark rejected the novel. Luckily, the editor that had brought Kawaguchi into the house exercised her right to decide on one title for publication every year. The book blew up and the rest as they say is history. Her story is set in a small café in Japan, particularly one seat in the cafe that allows the occupant to travel back in time. The most important rule is that the journey will come to an end as soon as the coffee gets cold. It is a mysterious and romantic story but ultimately a story of lost loves found.

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a lighthearted novel that sometimes pokes fun at itself. It is a quirky story that is set in a small coffee shop in Tokyo where people go to travel back in time. It is not a unique phenomenon as it has been written about a lot and the staff is candid with the patrons about the rules of traveling back in time. But despite the novelty, the café is not that popular among the locals as it for the most part attracts strangers in town looking for adventure. The story told in the novel is about four people who intend to travel back to the past for different reasons. Fumiko desires to reunite with her boyfriend who left her and hopes that by going back in time before things got bad she can change the future. Kohtake wants to retrieve a letter her husband was to give her but did not after he developed Alzheimer’s. Kei intends to meet her daughter while Hirai wants to reunite with her estranged sister. The novel balances the sad and the sweet and in some instances comical happenings at the coffee shop. It is a delightful juxtaposition of the reasons for the characters going back in time and what happens after they do.

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