“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin

I have never waited as long for a library book that I placed on hold to become available as this one — there were so many borrowers waiting for it! I finally got it last week after a wait of about six months, and even now, I see that 132 people are still waiting for a copy of the book. Now that I have finished reading it, I will make sure to return my copy right away, even though the loan period is three weeks.

What this indicates to me is how popular the book is. And I found that in addition to so many people wanting to read it, it is also widely acclaimed by critics, which does not always happen with books — often, the most popular books receive less than favorable reviews. This made Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow an intriguing anomaly for me, and while I typically find books heralded by literary critics hard to get into, I went into this book with an open mind.

It was amazing. I am still having a hard time believing how good it was. And how unusual — it is centered around gaming! I have never come across a novel that goes into not just the playing of video games but also their creation in so much detail and with so much authenticity. It was almost as if it was written by someone who is a professional coder and developer of video games. But it’s obviously not, because the author, Gabrielle Zevin, is an established author who has written several novels so far (including the highly acclaimed The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, which was recently made into a movie).

The main protagonists of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow are Sadie and Sam, who meet as kids in a game room in a hospital, where Sadie is visiting her older sister who is recovering from cancer, and Sam is recovering from surgery to his foot which was all but shattered in a car accident in which his mother died. Already introverted, Sam retreats into near-complete silence after the accident, and it is only after meeting Sadie and playing Super Mario Bros with her on the Nintendo console in the hospital game room that he starts to talk again.

They have a falling out after a couple of months because of a misunderstanding, but their paths cross again when they are juniors in college — both smart, driven, and high-achieving, she at MIT and he at Harvard. Once again, it is their obsessive love for gaming that brings them together, except that this time they are the ones developing the games rather than simply playing them. They end up creating a very successful gaming company, and they are joined in this venture by Marx, who is Sam’s roommate, and who loves gaming as much as they do. He does not code, however, and he is the one managing the business side of the company. He is also a theatre buff, and the title of the book comes from a quote in the play, Macbeth, that Marx starred in when he was in college with Sam.  

The book follows Sadie and Sam along their closely enmeshed personal and professional lives over the span of thirty years, their creative partnership, and the many challenges that they encounter. While Marx is an important character in the story, it is ultimately about Sam and Sadie and the deep bond they share. It is a love story, but not of the conventional kind. Their childhood friendship evolves into an unusual relationship that is even more exclusive than romantic love — they are fused together by their love for creating video games which is far above and beyond anything else in their lives. If true love is rare to find, it can be even rarer to find someone to work with, to create with, with whom you are completely in sync, who — as the cliche goes — “completes” you.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: July 2022

Contributor: Lachmi Khemlani is a fan of the written word.

One thought on ““Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin

  1. I read this book a while back, and I have to admit my experience wasn’t as positive as yours. I struggled with Sadie and Sam’s relationship for the whole book, and honestly disliked Sam period. He was more self absorbed than was really necessary. I’m glad you liked it, but I am living proof that not every book is for every reader.

    Liked by 1 person

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