The editors who put together the popular Modern Love column at the New York Times recently noted that they received 78 submissions in March with the same title: "Love in the Time of Coronavirus." It's an ever-present riff these days on the classic novel Love in the Time of Cholera by the late Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Now, in an open letter to his father in the Times, filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia writes that a day doesn't go by in which he doesn't hear a reference to his father's work amid our COVID-19 pandemic. He notes that his father's One Hundred Years of Solitude also features an "insomnia pandemic" and that his dad loved Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year as well as another work that features a plague, Oedipus Rex. "You were always fascinated with epidemics, real or of the literary imagination," he writes.
So what would his father make of all this? "I think that if you were here now, you would, as always, be enthralled by man," his son writes. "You would pity our frailty; you would marvel at our interconnectedness, be saddened by the suffering, enraged by the callousness of some of the leaders and moved by the heroism of people on the front lines." He writes that his father's biggest fear was loneliness and notes that many of those dying during this pandemic have had to die alone, separated from their loved ones. But then there's hope: "You would be eager to hear how lovers were braving every obstacle, including the risk of death, to be together," writes Garcia. "Most of all, you would be as endeared to humans as you ever were." (Read the full column.)