Before the Coffee gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.

In a little coffee shop in Tokyo, Fumiko is dumped by her boyfriend. He leaves for America, leaving her devastated. She revisits the place and enquires about a fabled magic chair that lets people time travel. A ghostly woman occupies the chair and only when she visits the powder room can you sit there, or she will jinx you. The coffee is poured, you go back in time and you must return before the coffee is cold or suffer her fate. The story is a slow burn that carefully fills its pages with the bond of the women at the café and their hopes and fears. Each eventually sits in the chair to revisit the past knowing that it will not change the future. Kohtake’s husband has dementia and slowly forgets who she is ‘These notes were the last hand hold for Fusagi, who was gradually forgetting who she was’. Hirai wants to fix things with her sister who has died. ‘I didn’t even meet her and now this has happened’ she said sniffing. ‘Only she never gave up on me. She came to Tokyo to see me again’. Kei who is pregnant and has a weak heart also uses the chair. The intricate and intimate friendships of these women is the centre of this book.

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