Reading guide for Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

A novel

by Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin X
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
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  • Published:
    Jul 2022, 416 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

Questions and Topics for Discussion
  1. In explaining why they never became lovers, Sadie tells Sam, "Lovers are ... common. Because I loved working with you better than I liked the idea of making love to you. Because true collaborators in this life are rare" (page 393). Do you agree? How do you think this plays out in the book? In what ways to you think her love for Marx is the same, and how is it different?
  2. How do you think Dov influences Sadie's work as a game designer, as a woman, and as a wife/partner to both Sam and Marx? What do you believe compels her to keep him in her life even after they break up? Why do you think Dov maintains the connection?
  3. Sadie considers how their experience as designers would have been different if they were born a decade (more or less) before or after when they were born. Technological advances aside, what else do you feel would have been different about their story if it was shifted slightly in time? Perhaps consider Sadie and Dov's relationship, the options for Sam's foot, the proliferation of mass shootings, and other cultural and social events.
  4. Marx's main creative role is as an actor, which is limited to his time in college. How do you think he continues to contribute to the creative process with Sam and Sadie—as producer, muse, organizer, and more? In your opinion, what does his participation suggest about the various ways one can participate in art beyond being an artist?
  5. If you were in their shoes, would you have taken the deal with Cellar Door Games or Opus Interactive to produce Ichigo? How would the novel have turned out differently if they had chosen Cellar Door?
  6. How do you think Sam's foot—while it's injured and after it's been amputated—shape his sense of self? Consider his reflections on gender, sexuality, and pain, including how he constructs his avatar as Mayor Mazer. How do the sensitivities of his relationship with this part of his body improve and damage his relationships with the people he loves?
  7. The novel bends its narrative form to assume the structure of the games in various places—namely, Both Sides, the NPC, and Pioneers sections. How did your reading experience shift in those sections? Did the format enhance your immersion into the worlds the team was building?
  8. Throughout the novel, the main characters suffer devastating losses. How do you think gaming helps them cope with their pain? Is it different for each or are there similarities?
  9. Sadie believes Sam takes undue credit for their shared creations. Do you think she's justified? How much influence do the public and the media have in awarding credit for the games? What role do you think she herself plays in this dynamic? Do you think this would have been different if their games had premiered in today's world?
  10. Do you think Sadie and Sam regret the choices they made for Mapleworld, given how the game's political voice led to Marx's death? Do you think Marx had any regrets?
  11. When Sadie asks Marx if he regrets leaving his acting behind, he replies in the negative. "It isn't a sadness, but a joy, that we don't do the same things for the length of our lives." What do you think he means? Do you agree with the statement? How has this played out in your own life?
  12. Marx muses while in his coma: "Memory, you realized long ago, is a game that a healthy-brained person can play all the time, and the game of memory is won or lost on one criterion: Do you leave the formation of memories to happenstance, or do you decide to remember?" (page 286). What do the characters in the novel decide to remember through their games? Do they acknowledge the role and value of happenstance in the creation of their real world and their imagined worlds? Do you feel one must decide to remember, or is memory more random?
  13. From the title of the novel, to Sadie's invocation of Emily Dickinson, to Marx's epithet, "Tamer of Horses," to Master of the Revels, there are many allusions to classical literature woven throughout the novel. What do you think this suggests about the nature of storytelling—how many ways can the same stories, emotions, and experiences be reinvented? In your opinion, does the team believe they can create and are creating something new in their work, or are they finding new ways of expressing universal themes?
  14. Sam knows he loves Sadie and has many opportunities to tell her so. Why do you suppose he waits decades before doing so? Why does he finally let her know? Do you think this changes their relationship at all?
  15. Sam believes that "to play requires trust and love," and in one interview states, "There is no more intimate act than play, even sex." What do you think he means? Do you agree with him? Do you think this is different if you're playing a board game vs. a video or online game?
  16. Sadie notes that the kids in her class have a very different attitude toward telling their stories, in life and in games, compared to when she was growing up in the 1980s. How have you observed similar shifts within your own families and communities? How has technology shaped our modes of expression, sense of self-worth, and value systems, especially among teenagers?
  17. What video games have you formed an attachment to in your life, as a child and/or as an adult? What drew you in and left an impression on you? What do video games offer a person in the form of entertainment, community, and growth that other art forms do not?
  18. Both Sadie and Sam use games to explicitly memorialize their loved ones and process their losses. If you could design a game to change or preserve some part of your reality, what would it be like?
  19. What do you think the future holds for Sam and Sadie?

The above is a combination of topics from the publisher's discussion guide, sometimes rephrased, together with topics created by BookBrowse for our online discussion of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.

Suggested Reading
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
The Nix by Nathan Hill
No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The Overstory by Richard Powers

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Knopf. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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