Poland Interrupted: a Journey follows the tumultuous life of Kaz Kowinsky, a boy who comes of age in Krakow following the Great War and joins the Polish resistance when Germany invades at the start of World War II. Like Poland, Kaz’s life is constantly interrupted. He lives in a family that is so dysfunctional he can hardly breathe. Raised by an aunt and uncle, he is returned to his mother, who abandons him in an orphanage. He meets Christina, a bewitching girl who Kaz hopes will become his girl friend, but she chooses his best friend, Charlie, instead.
Kaz rebels against his misfortunes by taking dangerous risks, including a harrowing encounter with a train in blood alley. He escapes the orphanage and makes his own way as an apprentice in a factory. He learns to drive trains, searches for a father he has never known, joins the navy, lives in a whorehouse with Charlie, and meets Daneta, who gets him a job in her father’s factory. Daneta reads books, listens to classical music, and loves ballroom dancing. Kaz prefers bars, local dance halls, and ribald songs. They marry despite their differences, but it is not a marriage made in heaven. Conflicts inevitably arise. Kaz retreats from his troubles by hiring onto a fishing boat and going to sea.
His plans are interrupted when he learns that Daneta is pregnant. Kaz is determined not to abandon his child as his own parents have done, so he returns to Krakow to help care for the baby and to repair the marriage.
Then, bombs start to fall as Germany invades Poland. Kaz takes a train headed for Gydnia in an attempt to reach his naval unit but is turned back by German tanks. He is taken prisoner, beaten, and barely escapes with his life. He returns to Krakow where he joins Charlie in the new resistance movement.
Kaz and Charlie spy on the Germans, smuggle food and arms to the partisans fighting in the nearby Tatras Mountains, rescue a famous Jewish mathematician from prison, ambush trains, and help save many of Poland’s precious querns (stones used to grind flower into bread). But not all goes as planned. Daneta and his child disappear into the German prison system, Charlie is arrested, and Christina joins the partisans in the mountains near Warsaw. Kaz becomes a fugitive and flees into the Tatras Mountains where he continues to spy on the Germans.
Christina joins him, and for a brief time Kaz finds the love for which he has longed. But his life is interrupted, once more. Christina disappears following a battle in the Tatras, and the partisans are forced deeper into the mountains.
Germany is finally pushed back by the allies and slowly retreats from Poland, only to be replaced by Russians. Poland’s new occupiers are even more brutal than the Germans. Kaz has lost everything and soon realizes that his only hope for survival is to stow away on a ship and flee his beloved country.
In 1906, San Francisco has reached the peak of its golden age. Fortunes have created a society that attracts European opera singers and cordon bleu chefs. It is a world defined by elegant balls, oysters, and champagne. There are darker sides to the city as well. The Mission district south of Market Street houses tenements where shanties huddle together and rats plague the streets. And nearby sits Chinatown, an endless warren of dark alleys that offers gambling, prostitution, and opium, all controlled by vicious gangs, called tongs.
Into these disparate worlds steps Marta Baldwin, a young woman who has shunned her own social background to help the poor. She is confronted by a hypnotist, a man who mesmerizes young women from the tenements and delivers them to the tongs in Chinatown to work in their brothels.
Two boys discover a forty-year-old skeleton, and an old man trudges through a San Francisco park to the Fior d'Italia Restaurant. Thus begins a story filled with love, political intrigue, and murder.
The Separatist is two parallel stories: one about Julia Rice, a newspaper reporter, and the other about Mr. Andersen, an eighty-year-old man who roars into her life like an aging lion. Mr. Andersen was once a separatist, a man hired by clients to sever relationships, but he had to flee the country to escape a Chinese warlord, Liu Kwong. Now, he has returned, and he offers to tell his story to Julia so he can bring Kwong to justice and closure to his life. When she hesitates, he promises in return to help her find her father who abandoned her as a small child. Julia accepts his proposal and enters a sinister world where danger and romance await her.
The year is 1910 and San Francisco has risen from the ashes of the great earthquake and fire. Marta’s life has risen as well. The hypnotist who nearly possessed her is dead; she has married Byron Wagner, one of the wealthiest men in the city; and she is in the second trimester of pregnancy. Her world is serene, although there are a few clouds on her horizon. Her sister-in-law, Etta Marie, lives in the Wagner household and bedevils Marta at every turn, and her brother, Samuel, has begun having mood swings that make his behavior even more unpredictable than it was before.
Robert Grey is an ordinary man caught in extraordinary circumstances. He is about to “walk the plank” into middle age, and he has traveled to Venice, Italy, with his wife, Rachel, to resuscitate himself and his marriage. Venice is where he came of age twenty-seven years ago, and he hopes returning there will quiet the demons clamoring inside his head. But when he visits his old hotel, he tumbles through time and returns to the Venice of his youth. Rachel has disappeared, and his Euros and credit cards are useless.
Gordon Snider's latest book takes a whimsical look at travel around the world. It is filled with hilarious stories, all true, and descriptions of special places and experiences.
"The book has a nice angle... anecdotal rather than advisory. Full of very funny stories." – Lauri, Ocean Avenua Travel
"A delightful read, easy and fun. Each chapter is original, which I like. It lets me pick up the book and read any chapter I want. The stories of Aeroflot brought back memories!" – Debe, Travel Leaders
Sigourney’s Quest is a novel about a courageous woman, a lost 7th century Buddhist manuscript, and a harrowing journey through Tibet. The manuscript must be brought home by Sigourney Phillips to the Tibetan monastery from which it was taken one hundred years ago. During her quest, she reads the diary of Anne Hopkins, an Englishwoman who secretly entered Tibet by posing as a pilgrim. It was Anne who took the manuscript from Tibet to save it, and her diary provides insight and inspiration to Sigourney during her own journey. The two women’s spirits become intertwined as Sigourney undertakes ordeals similar to the ones described by Anne.