Before the Coffee Gets Cold #3
Before Your Memory Fades is the third installment of the Before The Coffee Gets Cold series. It picks up directly where the second novel, Tales From The Café leaves off. I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel and loved how the second one tied up loose ends; this third novel follows with the same pace, cadence, and story. For those who love the way the past and present and future intertwines and the mythology of the series, Before Your Memory Fades will feel like a warm welcome in an old and familiar place (the Cafe Funiculi Funicula, of course!)
For me, personally, Before Your Memory Fades made less of an impression on me than I expected. I think I had tired of the story; indeed, there was nothing necessarily new in this novel that the previous two had not delivered. The emotional payoff for me was spent, but this does not lessen the potential payoff of the novel for a fan of the series: There is a ghost, albeit a new one, in The Seat in the café and there are new eager patrons who come to use the time traveling device to correct some wrong they have committed in the past or have yet to commit in the future. Then there is the same terrible lesson they learn: that love and obligation are on the same sides of the coin and that they cannot change the events fated to them, but the knowledge they learn in the past or future can change their hearts and souls in their present.
We are reintroduced to familiar, new, and newish characters, Nagare and Kei’s now teenaged daughter, Miki, and a new employee, Reiji, who works at another café in the “family”, Café Donna Donna, which also has its own time-bending seat, its own ghost, and its own crew of café regulars, Nanako and Dr Saki Muraoka, There are familiar characters: Nagare and Kazu. There is also Kazu’s daughter, Sachi, who is the newest Tokita woman to wield the power of the coffee and time travel. There are new patrons who arrive at the Café Donna Donna to rewrite their pasts: a daughter who seeks out her parents and a way to manifest her vengeance, a comedic celebrity who needs to tell his wife something important, and others.
All in all, Before Your Memory Fades delivers on its promise. It is a fantastic addition to the existing two novels. It continues the tradition of the Café Funiculi Funicula, giving the reader more of what they fell in love with in the first novel.