Review: Tales From the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, translated by Geoffrey Trousselot

Before the Coffee Gets Cold was such a charming story that, unsurprisingly, it has inspired an entire series, with each volume featuring stories of the many different people who visit the cafe and their unique and touching reasons for wanting to travel back, or occasionally, forward, in time in the cafe. Tales From the Cafe is the second volume in this series and it hits just as much of an emotional punch as the first. In this volume the reader meets a man who wants to see his best friend and tell him all about his daughter--who the man has raised as his own, and through the generosity of his friend he has lived a good and successful life. There is a police officer who wants to give a gift to his wife, a son who could not come home for his mum's funeral and a man who wants to travel forward in time to see the women he won't be able to many due to the most heartbreaking for circumstances. And, surprisingly, in this volume we learn the identity to the mysterious ghost who occupies the seat in the cafe--and their link to one of the most important characters in the series.

This volume was short, charming and packs a big emotional punch in all of the right ways. Prepare to have your heart broken, your faith in humanity restored and just to feel, well, optimistic. Or, at least, those are my experiences. Obviously, this is a sequel and I think the books are best read in the order they were published--there are a few threads that may not make a lot of sense if one is to read the books out of order.  This one is very short and can be easily read in one or two sittings. The translation is excellent.

Highly recommended.

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