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The Two Hotel Francforts

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  1,101 ratings  ·  180 reviews
It is the summer of 1940, and Lisbon, Portugal, is the only neutral port left in Europe--a city filled with spies, crowned heads, and refugees of every nationality, tipping back absinthe to while away the time until their escape. Awaiting safe passage to New York on the SS Manhattan, two couples meet: Pete and Julia Winters, expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life i ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2013)
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OOh, this is good. Very Ford Maddox Ford with gay sex and a dog.
switterbug (Betsey)
In the summer of 1940, as Hitler's troops were invading Europe, people fled to the neutrality of Lisbon, many hoping to get on one of the few ships sailing to America. During this time, Lisbon is filled with spies and royalty and people in exile. Leavitt's story primarily concerns two ex-pat couples waiting for the S. S. Manhattan to come. The novel is narrated by one of the main characters, Pete Winters.

Pete and Julia Winters are Americans who have lived in Paris for over 15 years; Julia insist
Non-Conventions: A study of love

Reading “The Two Hotel Francforts: I was reminded of Ford Maddox Ford’s “The Good Soldier” for many reasons but mostly because of the explicit exploration of sexuality within and without marriage though neither of these novels contains egregious sexual content but rather that they’re about the role of sex in interpersonal and intimate relationships and the nature of love and how it’s expressed. Another similarity is the European setting when there is an expectatio
I was very excited to read this book; it seemed perfect for me: World War II and a gay affair. It’s set in Portugal in 1940 as expats and refugees are converging on Lisbon, trying to get to America. This is an aspect of World War II I haven’t read much about, and Leavitt does a good job showing the different ways people are responding to the Nazi invasion of France. But this is just the backdrop for the meeting of two couples waiting for a ship to New York.

So this isn’t really a World War II nov
Dois casais e a cadelinha Daisy encontram-se na pastelaria Suíça, no Rossio, em Lisboa. Descobrem que estão no Hotel Francfort, mas cada qual no seu Francfort, pois, fruto de desavença familiar, existem dois hotéis com o mesmo nome na cidade. Ambos os casais vêm de França, fugindo das tropas nazis que, em 1940, chegaram a Paris e ameaçam invadir a Península Ibérica. Ambos esperam embarcar dentro de uma semana no paquete Manhattan, enviado pelos americanos para resgatar os seus compatriotas refug ...more
Kristine Brancolini
I've tried to write about this book a couple of times and can't seem to get it right. What I liked about the book. What I didn't. It starts with the cover. I absolutely loved the cover of this book. And don't tell me that you can't judge a book by its cover. The cover features a leather suitcase with stickers from two Hotels Francfort in Lisbon. The suitcase is lying atop brightly colored tiles, like a floor. Honestly, I knew I would like this book and I did, but I didn't love it.

Here's part of
Graeme Aitken
This new historical novel from David Leavitt is immediately captivating as the setting is so well-chosen. It is Lisbon, in the summer of 1940, and the city remains the only neutral port left in Europe. Naturally, the city is heaving with refugees of all nationalities and classes. Many are awaiting safe passage to New York aboard the SS Manhattan; others hustle for a visa, while some have no options remaining, their money slowly dwindling away. It is against this backdrop that two couples meet. O ...more
As compulsively readable as this book was, I knew early one that I would be able to give it only a middling rating. There are just some books that, though one zips through them, are lacking some element that makes them stand out. On the surface, there is nothing very wrong with The Two Hotel Francforts at all, but there is also nothing very sparkly - if I can call it that. The plot revolves around two couples who meet in Lisbon in 1940 as they wait to leave a war ravaged Europe on a ship sailing ...more
Larry Hoffer
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

There comes a moment when your life changes. For Pete Winters that moment came when Edward Freling stepped on his glasses in a crowded cafe in Lisbon, Portugal. It's 1940 and the world is a chaotic place, with Hitler making his way across Europe. Lisbon is the only neutral port left, and refugees from all over Europe have crowded into Portugal, hoping for sanctuary or at least a place to wait until finding passage somewhere else.

Pete and his wife, Julia, are expatriate Am
Andrew Marshall
I have always been a fan of David Leavitt but each book makes me question my judgement more. The premise of two couples stranded in neutral Lisbon during the 2nd world war waiting for a boat out is interesting and new, so is the idea of two seemingly heterosexual men having an affair (although I found one of their wives contrivance unconvincing). The problem is that you don't really engage with the story or really care what four spoiled people get up to (and there is no real jeopardy because wit ...more
Oh what a joy it is to read a great new novel from a favourite author. David Leavitt has written another book that had me thinking that work was getting in the way of my reading time.

Set in Portugal in 1940 it is the story of two couples, Peter and Julia, Edward and Iris, who meet at a café and discover that they are staying in one of the two hotels with the name Francfort (The Hotel Francfort and The Francfort Hotel to be specific). They, like a huge number of refugees in the country are awaiti
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I enjoyed this, but I can see why others might not. I will continue to read Leavitt, both in spite of and because of.

I'll read him in spite of his including gay sex. There is only one scene, which is not graphic. However, in the spectrum of implicit to explicit is probably closer to the latter. This scene establishes the relationship between the two and, although the sex is never mentioned again, the reader can assume it continues.

I'll read him because of his prose and his complex characters. H
The atmosphere of Lisbon at the time of WWII is the best part of this book. Ex-pats, waiting for visas, lots of drinking and smoking -- all these contribute to the dreamy quality of the book, and I suppose that suspended time when waiting becomes the theme of nearly everyone's existence. The two couples begin a friendship, and over perhaps two weeks time events conspire to change the lives of at least two of them forever. As much as I have admired Mr. Leavitt's writing in the past (especially li ...more
Kathleen Kelly
The Two Hotel Francforts tells a story readers may never consider when thinking of World War II. It tells the story of the people you never think about, not the soldiers or their families, not the Jews, not the Nazis, but those so uninvolved, it makes you wonder how many stories have gone untold.
The story is an interesting take on the part we never think of during a war, the waiting period. Here we have two couples who, by happenstance or serendipity, meet while waiting for transport back to Ame
A dalliance of sexual relationship between two men, frothy 1940's dialogue quipped by hat wearing characters and enough page turning World War II details to keep it interesting makes the Two Hotel Francforts an enjoyable read. At it's best, the book is like a literary version of one of those romantic old war films like Waterloo Bridge. Tortured yet snappy. Intriguing yet fast moving. Familiar in spots and surprising in others. I tore through it in two days so clearly the author was doing somethi ...more
In the summer of 1940, Lisbon is the only neutral port in Europe. It is here, at the Café Suica that two married couples meet. Peter Winters and his wife Julia have fled Paris after living there for fifteen years. Edward and Iris Freleng an independently wealthy American and British couple, and their dog Daisy are authors of a detective series and have been traveling around Europe for years and living a rather debauched lifestyle. The borders to escape France and enter Spain then Portugal are al ...more
According to my Goodreads list, this is the sixth David Leavitt book I've read. On the face of it, I am quite a fan of his writing, and I will say that I have really liked several of his short stories. However, I always look forward to reading his books more than I actually enjoy the reading of them. Like his other books, I didn't dislike his characters any more than I think Leavitt wanted me to, but, especially for the main character, Pete, I couldn't really understand his motivation. Why was i ...more
I really wonder how many people miss the subtlety of the last few paragraphs, the effect they have on the whole story, how they change the way the story ends. I'd like to take a survey to see.

In any case, though, the book is good. I love the tone, which is very Proustian remembrance-of-things-past, which we know I love. The characters are intriguing, though I can't really say I'm that enamored with any of them. Perhaps because of the narrator, who's siphoning this through his memory, the charact
Romance complexo e intenso sobre dois casais de refugiados da II Grande Guerra, durante as poucas semanas que passam em Lisboa, enquanto aguardam o barco para a América.
Debbie Robson
I must admit I did have high hopes for The Two Hotel Francforts - Lisbon 1940, two couples trying to get home, one of the women a Jew, the threat of the Nazis not far away. “The Winters - Julia and Pete are middle-class expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life in Paris; the Frelengs, Edward and Iris are elegant, independently wealthy, bohemian. Both couples are beset by the social and sexual anxieties of their age.”
Very early on the narrator, Pete Winters has our sympathy as we begin to fi
Alex Hamilton
My review from my blog:

David Leavitt’s newest novel, a New York Times notable book for 2013, is an absorbing read. I picked up the book last night, or rather I downloaded an electronic copy, and found much needed respite from the holiday crowds in its engrossing pages. After reading until I could no longer keep my eyes open last night, I woke up and finished off the last quarter of the novel this morning over an espresso – perhaps not unlike the bicas, a
I usually don't worry so much about spoilers, but I'm gonna have to say here that I don't want to say too much. This book caught me off guard. I don't remember how it got on my "to read" list, but I knew it was about WWII and that's all and really, that was a nice way to go into it.

The characters aren't nice, but they are certainly believable. Edward and Julia have mental illnesses and they are in a stressful situation (fleeing Europe against their will in WII); Iris and Pete are coping with the
How often do you read a novel and feel so exhilarated you immediately want to read it again? This was that kind of book for me. Set in Lisbon in 1940, The Two Hotel Francforts is a deft tale of the interlocking lives of Peter & Julia, Edward & Iris, 2 sets of refugees from the Nazi invasion of Paris who find themselves at 2 very different hotels with the same name. It's hard to tell if their lives are comic or tragic; the circumstances change moment-to-moment and one feels the uncertaint ...more
Lisbon 1940: the only neutral port in Europe, a city teeming with refugees of many nationalities and accommodation at a premium. Edward and Iris reside at the Hotel Francfort; Pete and Julia at the Francfort Hotel. They meet by chance and begin to spend most of their days and nights together. They make a brittle quartet, and one is left to wonder if the author liked any of them. Julia is dissatisfied and unhappy from having to flee Paris; English born Iris bears indignities to save her marriage ...more
This is a book set during WWII, but not a war book. The war is merely the circumstances that bring these people to Lisbon at this time; ex-pats fleeing before the front lines, but not truly understanding what they run from.

Two couples meet while waiting for the boat that will return them to the States, our narrator, Pete, and his wife Julia and Edward and Iris, an odd pair they happen to meet and fall in with. Until the boat arrives in a week or so they have nothing but time, and the husbands i

This is the first time that I have read book written by David Leavitt. At first I was a little unsure whether his writing style would suit me however once past the first few chapters I was gripped. Life was never going to be the same again when two upper/middle class couples meet in Lisbon waiting for a passage from Europe, just before the outbreak of the second world war. As the story develops the two husbands (Edward and Pete) have an affair as their wives (Julia and Iris) sights

a bit tense psychological novel, in the "mr. ripley' way The Complete Ripley Novels in lisbon in 1940, where all are scrambling out of the way of nazi germany (and italy) has lovely pictures of lisbon and sintra and estoril, some on salazar and the bars and hotels of old town. also about madness, expatriates, and the ethics of rich people. leavitt wrote a quirky description of florence for the 'writer and the city ' series a few years ago and i have been a fan of his writing ever since, a combin ...more
Deeply interesting but oddly impersonal at the same time. The narrator enters into a same-sex affair (which, inferentially, is his first) and yet we never hear how this event affects him or how he feels about this strange new occurrence in his life. Is it the fulfillment of a long-held dream? Is it a bizarre aberration caused by the circumstances surrounding his flight from Europe? We don't know. The narrator seems to either have no inner life, or none that he cares to share with us...which I fo ...more
My first David Leavitt book. I was going to switch between this, and another book I knew I would be more interested in - Consider Phlebas. Surprisingly though, once I started the Two Hotel, I stuck with it through to the finish. It's one of those books that can be described as eminently readable even giving how heavy the subject material is, how depressing the setting is, and how unlikable the protagonists are and what a copout the ending is.

Was it making being Jewish, gay, neurotic, and cheated
Karen Skinner
I have loved Leavitt in the past - had a sort of reader's crush on him - so when this book popped up on my KINDLE, I did not hesitate to order it and read it in one day. It was like running into an old friend and having a long dinner, lingering over drinks, leaving satisfied, but also vaguely aware that you may have romanticized the relationship a bit, that your lives had taken divergent paths. This was a good read, complex characters, a solid background of wartime, an escape to Lisbon and waiti ...more
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Leavitt is a graduate of Yale University and a professor at the University of Florida, where he is the co-director of the creative writing program. He is also the editor of Subtropics magazine, The University of Florida's literary review.

Leavitt, who is openly gay, has frequently explored gay issues in his work. He divides his time between Florida and Tuscany, Italy.
More about David Leavitt...
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“We all spend so much time worrying about the future that the present moment slips right out of our hands. And so all we have left is retrospection and anticipation, retrospection and anticipation. In which case what's left to recall but past anticipation? What's left to anticipate but future retrospection?” 4 likes
“You could reach for him, and sometimes you would grab hold of him. But sometimes all you would grab hold of was a reflection of a reflection in a revolving door.” 0 likes
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