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The Two Hotel Francforts

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,643 Ratings  ·  243 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 in ...more
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2013)
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Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those that think they know it all
Recommended to Jaidee by: my sweetie
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 " deliciously and delightfully deceiving" stars !!!!

9th Favorite Read of 2017

This book is so multilayered and complex. Two couples meet in Lisbon in 1940 and are waiting to board a ship to America to leave the Nazis behind. They become fast friends but do they really ?

Mr. Leavitt is a master novelist and at first I thought I was reading a love story about an illicit passionate affair between two men while the wives drank tea. Moment by moment though we are taken through the quartet's histo
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
OOh, this is good. Very Ford Maddox Ford with gay sex and a dog.
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
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
Dec 28, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Moloch by: Dal sito della casa editrice Mondadori
Pare che D. Leavitt sia uno scrittore molto apprezzato e "di qualità": sarà, ma in questo suo primo romanzo che leggo (visto per caso sul sito della casa editrice) mi ha piuttosto deluso.
Già dai primi capitoli commette tutti gli "errori" soliti che mi fanno indispettire:
a) un personaggio che parla come Wikipedia e ci scarica addosso l'immancabile infodump su Lisbona, il Portogallo e la situazione storico-politica
b) al capitolo 2 più o meno già sappiamo vita, morte, miracoli, carattere e backstor
I think I became aware of this book from my Goodreads sidebar recommendations. I thought it sounded good, and being set in Lisbon - a place I want to know better - was an added bonus. Although quite readable, I have to say this book did not live up to its promise.

Early on in WW2, two couples meet in Lisbon while awaiting repatriation to New York aboard the SS Manhattan. One couple is staying at the Hotel Francfort, while the other has managed to secure a room at the nearby Francfort Hotel. Unexp
switterbug (Betsey)
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: gay, netgalley
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
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Larry H
Nov 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Kristine Brancolini
Jul 15, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americani, s-m
In un impeto di positività
I protagonisti sono 3 americani e un'inglese, che si annoiano molto, trascorrono molto tempo al bar, intrecciano una relazione. Sono deliziosamente nevrotici, vivono gravi problemi quali viaggiare da Parigi a Lisbona in un'automobile di lusso; potrebbero aver dovuto rinunciare a qualche capo del loro guardaroba (non è sicuro): insomma, una tragedia che anticipa degnamente la seconda guerra mondiale. Il loro passato contiene gravi delusioni, quali aver rinunciato a una c
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-lit
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
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, foreign-fiction
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
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
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The summer of letting go.

Set in the Summer of 1940 in Lisbon, Portugal, two expatriate couples meet after fleeing as Germany invades France and waiting to board the SS Manhattan for the trip back to the States.

With time on their hands having to deal with leaving the place they called "home", awaiting repatriation back to the States, not to mention the impending war, what could possibly happen? In a week's time, this historical fiction presents another unique perspective on the impact of WWII.

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
Kathleen Kelly
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
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
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Complice una Convention in cui ho dovuto lavorare un'ora sola, e una stanza d'hotel veramente confortevole (leggi con poltrona, frigobar e aria condizionata, mentre fuori c'è l'inferno), mi sono finita questo romanzo in un pomeriggio.
Ho letto giusto un paio di romanzi di Leavitt, non mi ha mai impressionato molto. Poi io lo confondo con Cameron. Per me scrivono in modo identico. Temi, ambientazioni, personaggi, dialoghi.
Comunque questo romanzo scorre veloce e piacevole come una lettura da ombre
Jan 08, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, queer
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.
Suanne Laqueur
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-five-stars
Read it in two days. Amazing. Absolutely fantastic....
Alex Hamilton
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-ones, kindle, library
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
Uiteindelijk toch een onverwacht mooi boek...
Twee Amerikaanse echtparen ontmoeten elkaar in Lissabon 1940, wachtend op de aankomst van de "Manhattan", waarmee naar New York zullen varen om de oorlog te ontvluchten. In Lissabon, de enige neutrale haven in Europa, is de sfeer losbandig, 'living on the edge' is er het parool, feesten en drank zijn er in overvloed. De verteller (Pete Winters, die met zijn vrouw Julia uit Parijs gevlucht is) beschrijft de weken die zij wachtend in Lissabon doorbreng
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it

Dear Reader,

I got this book as a Netgalley offering a while back, and had entirely forgotten how the little blurb described it. So I again went in cold, and I find I really enjoy those books about which I have very little expectation! The story centers around a couple of weeks relatively early in World War II, when residents from all over Europe were attempting to flee the continent and the Nazi persecution. Many ended up in Lisbon, as Portugal was neutral at the time, and there wa
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
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the backdrop to this book - in terms of both history and location. It was obvious that the author had done his research very thoroughly and I felt that wartime Portugal came to life - which is more than can be said for the characters, unfortunately.

In particular, I found it totally implausible that the 40-year-old main character (who had never been attracted to a man before in his life), would start an affair with Edward (whom he hardly knew), without the slightest surprise, doubt or
Taylor P
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Leavitt's prose is characteristically pleasant and smooth here, but this novel is not nearly as strong as The Language of Cranes, which provided my introduction to his work. Everything is a bit too bourgeois and light to feel like it matters, even though these characters have fled their homes in the midst of a brewing international conflict, even though two of them are having an illicit, taboo affair, even though their futures are unbearably uncertain and (view spoiler) ...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
“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?” 5 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
More quotes…