“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.” This is the start of the second sentence of Macbeth’s most famous soliloquy in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” The soliloquy speaks on Macbeth’s own outlook on the future and on life itself after the death of Lady Macbeth. This is also the title of Gabrielle Zevin’s latest novel, encapsulating the theme of an uncertain future paired with the belief in second chances.
“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,” which was named the Best Book of 2022 by Amazon and Best Fiction of 2022 by Goodreads, follows main characters Sam and Sadie, who have teamed up to design video games. Sam and Sadie have been friends and fellow gamers since they were extremely young, but grow apart after an aspect of their relationship is revealed, which causes Sam to push others away. Only after years of catching glimpses of each other at competitions and science fairs, and then both ending up in Boston for college, do they reconnect. With Sam studying at Harvard and Sadie studying at MIT, they eventually end up living together while designing their first game.
Marx, a third main character, is an important fixture in both Sam and Sadie’s lives, but does not overpower either of them. Playing the supportive role, Marx starts off as Sam’s caring roommate and becomes closely intertwined with the two of them. He alternates between many roles such as the mediator, the source of conflict, or the caretaker, while still managing to maintain his own distinct character.
One of my favorite aspects of “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” is that all the characters are relatable in some way. Reading the novel as a high school student getting ready to move on into college, it helped to make the future seem less daunting. Getting frustrated at the characters for being flawed and seeing them struggle with similar problems as me, even though they are much older and more experienced in life, forced me to realize that adults are not otherworldly beings. Through Sam and Sadie’s fluctuating friendship, as well as the ways they deal with trauma differently, I was reminded that adults are human too.
Zevin’s novel offers a diverse and modern view of adult lives. From struggling to form romantic connections to having an affair with a married college professor, “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” covers all the bases. It displays the effects traumatic experiences from childhood have on Sam even three decades later, the ways the three characters approach romance differently, and just how easily their courses of life can be changed by the people they surround themselves with.
Another interesting part of the story is how Sam and Sadie are never romantic partners. More often than not, a novel’s two main characters will have some kind of romantic conflict. However, in “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,” the characters are not forced into a romantic relationship with each other. This allows for Sam and Sadie’s relationship to develop into something that transcends platonic or romantic relationships. Having been there for each other during the lowest points of their lives, they are each other’s closest companions, although they may not even realize it.
Last but most certainly not least, “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” is about video games. “What is a game?” Zevin writes in the novel. “It’s tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. It’s the possibility of infinite rebirth, infinite redemption. The idea that if you keep playing, you could win. No loss is permanent, because nothing is permanent, ever.” While not being much of a gamer myself, I was nevertheless able to understand how video games give people infinite possibilities to try again. Zevin shows this through her characters, who cope with the tragedies of life by escaping to the comfort of gaming: worlds where actions can be reversed and consequences can be avoided.
“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” is an emotional love story about friendship, video games, and life. Zevin has masterfully crafted a beautiful work of literature that can be both touching and eye-opening for many different people from different backgrounds. With the diverse cast of characters, the modern setting, and the many years the story spans, “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” offers something for everyone, and it is my hope that it can offer something for you too.