Tag Archives: Roger W. Smith a way to avoid death

“a way to avoid death”


I saw the documentary film Ex Libris, directed by Frederick Wiseman, today. The film, which is about the New York Public Library, has just been released.

In one particular scene, a discussion group at the library’s main branch on Fifth Avenue is engaged in a lively exchange of views about a book (naturally): Love in the Time of Cholera (Spanish: El amor en los tiempos del cólera) by Gabriel García Márquez. (I recognized the librarian conducting the discussion. The library is like a second home to me, and this librarian has assisted me with queries and more mundane matters related to using the library for research.)

As is noted in a Wikipedia entry, “The novel examines romantic love in myriad forms. … García Márquez’s main notion is that lovesickness is literally an illness, a disease comparable to cholera.”

This idea was batted around in the discussion group seen in the film. The compulsive pursuit of love in old age by one of the main characters was brought up. Several participants in the discussion said that they were in their seventies.

A young man spoke up and posed a rhetorical question, followed by his own answer.

“What is love?” he asked. “It’s a way to avoid death. For as long as you can.”


— Roger W. Smith

  September 16, 2017