The Two Hotel Francforts


Truth be told, I picked up this gem of a story by American writer, David Leavitt, as my third choice in a 3 for 2 offer at a bookstand. I judged the book entirely by its cover and chose it mainly because it is set in Lisbon in 1940; a city I knew little about and apparently, according to the blurb on the back, was the only neutral port left in Europe at the time. Turns out, I’d struck lucky.

Two ex-pat couples waiting for the boat back to America hook up and spend the duration of their time at the two hotel Francforts in each other’s company. Friendships form and sexually-charged intrigues ensue, against the background of a war-torn Europe and a city full of spies and refugees in which nobody seems to be quite who they seem. Or are they?

There is more than one twist in this more than one tale.

The Two Hotel Francforts sucked me in and took me to places I wasn’t expecting to read about. I am very happy that I did.

Quotes from The Two Hotel Francforts:

“For how else was an immigrant population to prove its entrenchment but by exercising the power to exclude?”

“Well, perhaps we all despise and fear those relations whose existence proves that we are not, as we would like to believe, originals.”

“It is really astounding to me, the human capacity for self-delusion, of which I myself am as guilty as anyone, and as much when what is at stake is something to be lost as something to be gained.”

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