Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Gabrielle Zevin

This is not a romance, but it is about love.


Two kids meet in a hospital gaming room in 1987. One is visiting her sister, the other is recovering from a car crash. The days and months are long there. Their love of video games becomes a shared world – of joy, escape and fierce competition. But all too soon that time is over, fades from view.

When the pair spot each other eight years later in a crowded train station, they are catapulted back to that moment. The spark is immediate, and together they get to work on what they love - making games to delight, challenge and immerse players, finding an intimacy in digital worlds that eludes them in their real lives. Their collaborations make them superstars.

This is the story of the perfect worlds Sadie and Sam build, the imperfect world they live in, and of everything that comes after success: Money. Fame. Duplicity. Tragedy.

Review

Sadie and Sam’s lives intertwine when circumstance sees them meet in the games room of a hospital in the late 1980s. What begins as two bored kids – one a patient, the other a visitor – sharing in video game strategy and prowess develops into a unique and transformative friendship. For a brief and glorious time – they’ll recall it fondly for the rest of their lives – they escape, in perfect harmony, into a world where the right way to proceed is clear and you can always begin again. But as with many childhood friendships, a misunderstanding pushes them apart, details fade with time, and eventually they lose touch. That is, until eight years later when fate throws them together once more on a crowded train platform. Immediately, they click. And what follows is a career as game designers that sees them become veritable stars.

I’ve always been drawn to novels pitched as a love story sans romance, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow captures the complexity and intensity stories of lifelong friendship deserve. Both Sadie and Sam are compelling yet highly flawed protagonists; this is not a novel for those seeking a story with consistently likeable characters (they definitely think, say, and do things that you wish they didn’t). Rather, this is a story for those interested in the mess of living a sincere life.

Broadly speaking, Gabrielle Zevin’s tenth novel confidently explores how we as human beings imbue meaning and order to the course of our lives. What makes an event matter or a personal relationship worthwhile? Those who know the origin of the novel’s title phrase will perhaps have an inkling of this already. Touching on themes of start-up culture, unconscious bias, emotional abuse, appropriation, biracial erasure, disability, sexuality and gun violence, the novel covers a lot of ground. At times, for me, it falters, but overall Zevin presents an intricate story whose characters – both main and supporting – felt satisfyingly real.

A nostalgic read about cherishing the moment you’re given and playing until the end of your life – virtual or otherwise.


Jessica Strong is the digital content coordinator.

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