Tag Archives: #timetravel

Before Your Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi -a review

before your memory fadesBefore Your Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The third novel in the international bestselling Before the Coffee Gets Cold series, following four new customers in a cafe where customers can travel back in time.

In northern Japan, overlooking the spectacular view Hakodate Port has to offer, Cafe Donna Donna 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 and Tales from the Cafe comes another story of four new customers, each of whom is hoping to take advantage of the cafe’s time-travelling offer. Among some familiar faces from Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s previous novels, readers will also be introduced to:

A daughter who couldn’t say ‘You’re an idiot.’
A comedian who couldn’t ask ‘Are you happy?’
A younger sister who couldn’t say ‘Sorry.’
A young man who couldn’t say ‘I like you.

Published 30 August 2022  |  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

Right now, in front of you in a room that only one person can enter. If you enter it, you will be saved from the end of the world.

If the world were to end tomorrow, which action would you take?

  1. You enter the room.
  2. You don’t enter the room.

I absolutely adore this series of interconnected short stories. Admittedly, the rules around time travel in this book sound absolutely ridiculous and this is acknowledged in the book too. However, it is what it is and you can take it or lump it. Basically, you cannot move from that spot, you have a very short & limited time, and you cannot change the past/future whatever you do/say. So, what’s the point? Well, there is a point as it is illustrated by each story and I will leave you to read them for yourselves 😉

In this third book of the series, the setting changed in location. It is still a cafe owned by a Tokita BUT it is not in Tokyo!! However, we still have most of the staff from earlier books with some new additions. I do recommend that you read them in order as the lives of these people change chronologically in each story. However, each story is really more about the people to took the chance to travel in time. These stories are about their lives and struggles and how/why they made the decision to travel in time despite not being able to effect actual change.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a series I’d truly highly recommend even if time travel isn’t your cup of tea coffee. The writing is gracefully poetic and that’s the English translation! This book really made me wish that I can read it in Japanese; it must be 10x more wonderful in its original language. I am a bit of a cry baby so I did pour out buckets of tears as each story unfailingly squeezed my heart and my tear ducts. They are stories of love, hurt, friendship, death, hopelessness, betrayal, and over all that, hope and life itself. Please do yourself a favour and read them.

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for gifting me a copy of this book. Thoughts are mine own.

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel -a review

sea of tranquilitySea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

The award-winning author of Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel returns with a novel of time travel that precisely captures the reality of our current moment. Sea of Tranquility is a virtuoso performance and an enormously exciting offering from one of our most remarkable writers.

In 1912, eighteen-year-old Edwin St. Andrew crosses the Atlantic, exiled from English polite society. In British Columbia, he enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and for a split second all is darkness, the notes of a violin echoing unnaturally through the air. The experience shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later Olive Llewelyn, a famous writer, is traveling all over Earth, far away from her home in the second moon colony. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in time, he uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an aristocrat driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

Sea of Tranquility is a novel that investigates the idea of parallel worlds and possibilities, that plays with the very line along which time should run. Perceptive and poignant about art, and love, and what we must do to survive, it is incredibly compelling.

Published 12 April 2022|  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

I just adore this cover! The colour, the gloss, and, with my copy, texture. I enjoyed author’s novel, Station Eleven, as it didn’t turn out as per my expectation, and I was intrigued by the description of this book which yet again, did NOT turn out as per my expectation.

At first, the jump in time settings and characters felt disparate in plot and structure until you notice something that doesn’t quite fit in each timeline.  And this is basically the first half of the book so you do feel a little disjointed but as soon as some explanation that actually thread these timelines together, I got really excited to dig into this mystery. And that big twist at the end was just Marvellous! 

Pandemics don’t approach like wars, with the distant thud of artillery growing louder every day and flashes of bombs on the horizon. They arrive in restrospect, essentially. It’s disorienting. The pandemic is far away and then it’s all around you, with seemingly no intermediate step.

Aside from the main overall arc, there is something that interest me in each different part of the novel. Thoughts on colonisation, of grief & anger, of being lost, of fear & death, etc. There were many thoughts that chime with me personally but that you’d probably find other bits that chime with you. However, certainly the thoughts of pandemics and lockdowns are understood by all in our current situation. I am finding it very hard to get my thoughts together on this book – it’s probably one that needs a very long simmer in my brain.

There is a very poignant feel to the book as each characters explored certain life decisions and regrets however at the end, I found a mixture of triumph and disbelief. The question is what would you have chosen in face of consequences, of exile, of death?

…, isn’t that reality? Won’t most of us die in fairly unclimactic ways, our passing unremarked by almost everyone, our deaths becoming plot points in the narratives of the people around us?

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook  |  twitter  |  instagram

Review: Life After Life

life after lifeLife After Life by Kate Atkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: Uncorrected Proof provided by publisher

The essential idea of Life After Life is similar to the movie, Groundhog Day, except that it does not repeat only the one day but a number of pivotal life events from which there is a chance of an alterable future. A concept, I’m sure, each one of us would love to experience… What would have done differently? If you had the chance, would you save your loved one or would you save the world?

Life After Life began with a very interesting little chapter that got me truly excited. From this, I expected some sort of intrigue –a war spy sort. However, the book really began with the birth of Ursula Todd and her chances at life. At first, I was enjoying the novelty of this concept applied to Ursula. I enjoyed hanging out with Ursula and her family but halfway through the book, it wore off and I was getting restless as I felt this isn’t going anywhere…

Unfortunately, Ursula also wasn’t going anywhere fast. It took her sometime to affect that which is most precious to her in life and there were just lives where she drifted away. She was, to me, too slippery to grasp. I really wasn’t sure what to make of her.

I might be a bit slow but I finally got the point right at the end when it was all spelt out for me –despite, I realised retrospectively, all the clues in the book. I was a little disappointed as my expectation was for something grander. However, after a certain period of consideration, it really is a lovely story.

Thank you, Random House via The Reading Room, for copy of ARC

View all my reviews