In "The Past Is A Foreign Country" Gianrico Carofiglio leaves his battle proven defense attorney Guido Guerrieri and travels from court drama to a new territory: a Paul Austerish fable about seduction and the dark forces of the human soul, salted with a pinch of suspense thriller. The trouble is, it doesn't work. Not only is the plot lame and shallow, it is also utterly predictable. The Whodunnit could be solved by a three year old (there is one bad guy in the story, so who do you think committed the crimes?), and the novel lacks any psychological insight into the pathological mind at the center of the story and its first person narrator (we never learn nor understand why he falls for his seducer). Roughly knit with the yarn of a Paul Auster novel, it has nothing of the haunting, fate driven, magical, otherworldly atmosphere that still makes Auster such a fascinating read.
In Carafiglio's previous novels about defense attorney Guido Guerrieri he had created a complex and beautiful protagonist fighting for justice in an unjust society. Returning to Guerrieri, Carofiglio would not only do his readers a favor, but also himself.