Genre: Mystery Thriller<br />
Originally published in 2020<br />
Page Count: 320 pages

Cristyn Hart

Genre: Literary Fiction
Originally Published in 2015 in Japanese. Translated into English in 2019
Page Count: 272

There is a café in a back alley in Tokyo which has been around for over a century. To get to it you must first walk through the front door and then climb down the stairs into a cozy little room with no windows. You will always find a woman wearing a dress and reading a book at one of the tables. She doesn’t react to anyone unless one of the staff offers coffee to her.

Along with the usual coffee and food, this café offers another experience. That is the experience of travelling back in time. To do so you have to sit where the woman in the dress with the book sits, and you have to be served coffee while having a good idea of when you want to end up. Nothing you do in the past can change the present and you can only meet people in the past who have visited the café. The final rule is very important, you must drink all your coffee before it gets cold.

This is a story told in four episodes each one centering around someone who wants to make use of the time travel within the café. The first one is about a girl who wants to go to the past so she can tell the man who left her to go to America that she doesn’t want him to go. This gently eases you into knowing the rules of the café before going into the other three episodes which all have characters who want to make use of the café because of bigger losses.

I liked each of the individual stories and I enjoyed how it’s split up in a way that it feels like four interconnected novels rather than one big one. Each part was then split up into two smaller parts. You can potentially read one of these individual stories in one sitting if you have the time.
The writing was clear and easy to understand in the English translation. From the start you know roughly what you’re going to get with each story. It starts with a character showing some passing interest in the time travel capabilities of the café before they decide that this is what they want to do. The rules are explained briefly and then the character goes back in time and has some sort of moving scene in the past which gives them new insight into their past and influences their future decisions. This is the exact structure of all the stories aside from one and even the one that is different moves in roughly the same direction. I recommend this book.

If you want to read more of what I have written you can find it on my blog at draconicbreath.wordpress.com. I am working on getting these reviews on there as well.

Personal Rating: 5/5

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