Picador buys 'beautiful' Japanese time-travel café debut

Picador buys 'beautiful' Japanese time-travel café debut

Picador has acquired a “beautiful” hit Japanese novel by Toshikazu Kawaguchi about an old Tokyo café that allows visitors to travel back in time.

Editor Ansa Khan Khattak acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for Before The Coffee Gets Cold from Neil Gudovitz of the Gudovitz & Company Literary Agency, acting as sub-agent for Sunmark Publishing. It will be published this September.

The debut novel, originally a stage play, has sold more than a million copies in Japan and was adapted into a film last year. Each of its four parts tells the story of one person who wishes to travel back in time by sitting in a particular seat at the café. One wants to confront the man who left them, another to receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer's, one to see their sister one last time, and the fourth to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

Khattak said: “In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, Toshikazu Kawaguchi explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time? The family-run café whose interior has remained largely unchanged for 100 years becomes the set for four small miracles. It’s a beautiful, emotionally resonant story and I’m so pleased to be publishing it here at Picador.”