Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Valentina Abenavoli Valentina Abenavoli selects H. said he loved us by Tommaso Tanini as Book of the Week.
There's no sentimentalism nor compassion in H. said he loved us: a cold, almost systematic list of fragments — such as collected documents from the Stasi archives, extracts from Man is strong (Corrado Alvaro, 1938), autobiographical notes, dictionary entries — interacts with contemplative images of empty urban cityscape and interiors, where the absence of human beings is metaphorically extended in the lack of humanity and yet the very presence of it. The society who creates its own monsters and its own criminals, the architecture in which the totalitarianism takes place, the claustrophobic corners, the monochromatic surfaces, dull thin wallpapers which hide the walls from direct view.
The reader is left interpreting fragments of psychological oppression, compelling a bitter feeling when all the elements in the book start making sense.
H. said he loved us is the story of five people, all exposed by family members or friends to the secret police and consequently imprisoned for apparently trivial crimes, like the possession of a copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Blind obedience to authority, bureaucracy of paranoia, poisonous love.
Exploiting love as an instrument of control is a symptom of something very wrong. Love strategy as part of a terror strategy, a macroscopic shift in the scale of values. And it's all very real."—Valentina Abenavoli
|H. said he loved us by Tommaso Tanini. Discipula Editions, 2014.|
Valentina Abenavoli was born in the 80s in Naples. After a degree in photography and a master in publishing, and several odd jobs, in 2012 she founded, with her husband Alex, AKINA, an independent publishing house of photobooks, with a focus on emerging photographers and visual storytelling. She is an editor, a graphic designer, a handmade book maker. She prefers reading photography in sequence.
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