Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a novel about video games, and friendship, and ultimately about kinds of love and what it takes to create things. Sam and Sadie meet in a hospital in 1987 and bond over Super Mario, but then their friendship falls apart. Years later, both at college, they run into each other in a train station. Immediately they know they must be friends again, and they start working to make a game together, along with Sam’s roommate Marx. Together, they create a game and find success, but as they attempt to build upon this and make more, it is clear that the real world isn’t as perfectly designed as a game one.

This is an intriguing book, especially for anyone who likes gaming. From the opening, it is clear that the world of video games is very much intertwined with it, as well as being the narrative as the protagonists work to make games, and it’s fun to have those references within it, as it has a real sense of gaming history. There’s a lot of description of making games and what they put into the games, and some interesting exploration of things like gender and sexuality within the gaming world, and ideas of cultural appropriation in games. A section later in the book is written as a game (for a reason that becomes clear) and that felt like something a bit different and fresh, though at first it might feel like a sudden departure from the narrative.

Other than games, the book is particularly centred around friendship and love, and different kinds of relationships. In particular, there’s Sam and Sadie’s dynamic, which the book examines a lot and even looks into some of their moments of miscommunication, showing how things aren’t as simple when they aren’t scripted in a game. The focus on the love within friendship is very important, and especially when it can also be tempestuous and blurred between business partners and friends. Marx is also a great character, bringing out how there’s often other people’s work behind big creative partnerships, but also showing a quietly purposeful kind of friendship between him and Sam.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (on a side note, I really enjoyed when the title was explained, both for the reference and why it is relevant) is a surprising book, a novel that focuses on video games and creating art, but also on friendship above all else, and the work that goes into friendships as well as creating video games. The narrative voice is distinctive, filled with detail and prescient comments, and might not be for everyone, but the content and worlds the book explores feel fresh, a different take on nostalgia and building on the past.