Title: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Rating: 5/5 stars
Publisher: Chatto & Windus (Penguin Books)
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.
Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.
Wow. What a novel. I’ve never read any other book with gaming as the main centerpiece before, and I’m assuming the parallels of a fictional world and our own world is constantly compared in books like these (escapism, perfection, controllability, etc), but Tomorrowx3 feels so much more than that. You don’t just get told about the comparison between a perfect fictional world and our own’s – the book talks you through all the details of it. Being able to just explicitly compare the ability to escape to another world is one thing, but pinpointing all the things that make people crave escapism, crave a “better reality”, crave controllability and perfection, is another thing. You are convinced of the games that the MCs create. You read their thought process behind it all. It’s not about two people who create a world just because they seek escapism. There is a source of love in that as well. A love for games. A love for art, for connection, for people. A love for money, fame, recognition.. but there’s also a source of fear, anxiety, insecurity… this whole concept of gaming AND creating games encompass both the perfect and imperfection of our MCs. Their best and worst traits bleed into their own games and the whole process of producing them.
We always watch about people indulging in the art, but never the process of creating and producing that art in the first place. Where does the inspiration come in? Why does the art consist of a warm color palette? Why feature certain cultural themes? Can you see the artist in their own art? Why or why not? I am beginning to understand (and also relate) to the struggles of other creators in different industries (particularly in the game industry). It’s eye-opening and refreshing. As a reader, you may criticise on the simplistic nature of all the issues explored between the arguments of two game enthusiasts in college, but remembering that they are fighting their own demons, remembering their immaturity as teens, their backgrounds and their main motivations in the first place… nothing is really that simple in this book, even if it may look like it is.
The best part of this book though is that you’re going through this journey of life with the characters. This journey of maturity, going through different phases of love, loss, grieve, identity, failure… the story does a good job of going into the details of teens growing up. And at the end of the story, it feels like you’ve come full circle. This is a book about life, love, success, art, loss, failures. Every single phase that we go through in life is touched on in this book, and I commend the author for doing so in a raw, beautiful, and bittersweet sort of way.
In case you’re unaware, this has now become one of my favorite books of all time. I love the author’s previous work (The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry), but not as much as I love Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Oh, and the title to the book has a really clever meaning to it too :’) But I’ll just stop the review here and say: read it. Read it if you love games. Read it if you don’t love games. Read it if you love reading about art, the creation of it, the indulgence of it, the critic of it. Just read it.
Thank you so much to the publisher (Penguin Books) for sending over a free copy in exchange for an honest review! ❤