Fallen from Fortune
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa
to the issue 8 page
They had told me so that I would be forewarned:
The Lambeas have fallen from fortune.”
This could mean various things, or so I chose to think after hearing that one phrase over the phone, just that and nothing more, and I was conscious that I should not ask too many questions. Not that I would have been allowed to, even if the person speaking had been there with me, face to face. They tended to be ambiguous in the first instance, and in the last, as if they were merely playing at being criminals, except that sometimes the game grew serious and they turned out to be criminals after all. This happened only on very few occasions, it’s true, and on those occasions it was never very clear precisely what had happened, for their preferred scenario was an accident, a suicide, an improvised brawl, or an unfortunate encounter in the street, rather than a murder that could only possibly be a murder and admitted of no other explanation – what bad luck – they might say, or, glibly – well, that’s life – or regretfully – how awful, how very unfortunate.