Text: Solveig Hansen, 2019
October 1 is the International Coffee Day.
“Life happens. Coffee helps.” And there’s a lot of coffee drinking in novels. Take Hemingway, for instance. In The Sun Also Rises, the word “coffee” is mentioned 35 times, and more than 20 times in A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. I counted. This is a quote from Sun:
Coffee is good for you. It’s the caffeine in it. Caffeine, we are here. Caffeine puts a man on her horse and a woman in his grave.
Haruki Murakami reminds us of the importance of coffee in the morning in his Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage:
The fresh smell of coffee soon wafted through the apartment, the smell that separates night from day.
Or the silence of things, including a coffee cup, in the words of Virginia Woolf in The Waves:
How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.
Heavy coffee drinkers would, of course, argue that coffee is important no matter what time of day it is. Just ask police inspector Wallander in Henning Mankell’s books. Which brings me to one of my favorites, a coffee philosophizing scene from One Step Behind:
“Police work wouldn’t be possible without coffee,” Wallander said.
“No work would be possible without coffee.”
They pondered the importance of coffee in silence.
Happy International Coffee Day, readers and writers!