Review: Tales From the Café

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 . . .

From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold comes Tales from the Cafe, a story of four new customers each of whom is hoping to take advantage of Cafe Funiculi Funicula’s time-travelling offer.

Among some faces that will be familiar to readers of Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s previous novel, we will be introduced to:

The man who goes back to see his best friend who died 22 years ago
The son who was unable to attend his own mother’s funeral
The man who travelled to see the girl who he could not marry
The old detective who never gave his wife that gift . . .

The sequel to the novel, Before the Coffee Gets Cold, takes place six years after the original stories. The café is still running and still sending people into the past. This time we meet four more people who would like to travel to meet with someone of their past.

Some of the stories are just as heartbreaking as the previous ones. I won’t lie, I teared up quite a few times, but pushed on before I could really be an emotional mess. As with the last book, I liked how each tale was connected to the rest, and there were even mentions of the previous book’s travelers. The only thing about these tales is that they’re quite repetitive… which is understandable as each character introduced ends up traveling. 

What’s new in this one though is that we learn the identity of the ghost woman who sits in that chair. It was a bittersweet reveal (mostly bitter, though), which leads to a bittersweet ending to close the novel. I’m not sure if there will be another, but I kind of think this was a good way to end the tales of the time-traveling café. 

If you read and enjoyed the first novel, you’ll likely enjoy this one as well. Again, it’s a bit repetitive, but the characters and their reasons for traveling are interesting enough to keep reading. As well as finding out just who the ghost-woman in the chair is.

Rating: 3/5 stars

One thought on “Review: Tales From the Café

  1. Rafaela | theportuguesebibliophile says:

    I read Before the Coffee Gets Cold last month and though I enjoyed it, I was disappointed that we didn’t learn the story of the woman in the chair. So, I’m quite curious about this one – though I likely will only read it when it gets to my local library since I just know this is not the kind of book I tend to love.

    Liked by 1 person

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