Did This Hand Kill?
by Open Letter
The follow up to Łazarewicz's harrowing Żeby Nie Było Śladów (Leave No Trace) depicting the case of the political murder of Grzegorz Przemyk—which earned Łazarewicz the Nike Literary Award in 2017—Did This Hand Kill? focuses on the case of Rita Gorgonowa, a cause célèbre of the interwar period in Poland.
Gorgonowa, a governess having an affair with her employer, was accused of brutally murdering his daughter, the 17-year-old Lusia on New Year’s Eve in 1931. Despite her claims of innocence, Gorgonowa was declared Poland’s ultimate villain, and eventually convicted.
But questions remain about this case—the most notorious murder trial of the Second Polish Republic—along with questions about what exactly happened to Gorgonowa post-World War II. Łazarewicz revisits the crime with a contemporary lens and recreates the furor and celebrity revolving around this murder.
Translated from the Polish by Sean Gaspar Bye
About the Author:
Cezary Łazarewicz is a Polish journalist who has worked for Gazeta Wyborcza, Przekrój, and Polityka. His books include Reportaże pomorskie (Pomeranian Reports, 2012); Sześć pięter luksusu. Przerwana historia domu braci Jabłkowskich (Six Floors of Luxury: The Interrupted History of the Jabłkowski Brothers’ House, 2013); Elegancki morderca (Elegant Murderer, 2015); Żeby nie było śladów. Sprawa Grzegorza Przemyka (That There Would Be No Traces: The Case of Grzegorz Przemyk, 2016), for which he received the Nike Literary Prize, the Oscar Halecki Prize, and the MediaTora Prize; and Tu mówi Polska. Reportaże z Pomorza (Here is Poland: Reports from Pomerania, 2017). Żeby nie było śladów was also named Book of the Year by Radio Kraków and was a finalist for the Ryszard Kapuściński Prize.
About the Translator:
Sean Gasper Bye is a translator of Polish fiction, reportage, and drama. He has published translations of Watercolours by Lidia Ostałowska, History of a Disappearance by Filip Springer, The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch, and Ellis Island: A People's History by Małgorzata Szejnert. He's also published shorter pieces in The Guardian, Words Without Borders, Catapult, World Literature Today, and elsewhere. He is a winner of the 2016 Asymptote Close Approximations Prize, a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts translation fellow, and former Literature and Humanities Curator at the Polish Cultural Institute New York.
Praise for Cezary Łazarewicz: