cover image The Measure of Time

The Measure of Time

Gianrico Carofiglio, trans. from the Italian by Howard Curtis. Bitter Lemon, $14.95 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-1-913394-48-6

At the start of Carofiglio’s sluggish sixth Guido Guerrieri novel (after 2016’s A Fine Line), teacher and aspiring writer Lorenza Delle Foglie calls on the intrepid defense lawyer at his office in Bari, Italy, seeking legal help for her son, who has been convicted of murder. Guerrieri, who had a short-lived relationship with Lorenza 27 years earlier, agrees to take the son’s appeals case, which involved drugs, guns, and organized crime, but the investigative work unearths painful memories and emotions he hasn’t considered in years. Meanwhile, the aging lawyer examines the failures in his life and muses philosophically on an old punching bag he has in his living room (“He takes the punches very calmly. He never reacts. He takes and I give, but he always wins in the end”). The world-weary Guerrieri—contemplating his own mortality while dealing with a woman whose life is filled with unattained dreams and sadness—and long courtroom sequences that lack any intensity make for dull reading. Carofiglio has done better. (Apr.)