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The Phantom of the Opera: The Original Novel Mass Market Paperback – December 30, 1987
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More than a love story, "The Phantom of the Opera" is a gothic tale of obsession --leading to madness. The Paris Opera House and its hidden rooms, and underground are perfect place to develop a horror story. Leroux noticed this potential. His descriptions of the place are creepy and in the end we start wondering if it is not a true story indeed.
Leroux was very smart, writing a novel like he was only reporting something --and not creating a work of fiction. Therefore there are police reports, newspapers' scraps, witness interviews. More than a narrator, the person who is telling the story is only gathering useful information for the reader.
His characters are real human beings --even the `ghost', than throughout the narrative we realize that he is the one with most human characteristics. Sometimes, Christine is a little stereotypical, mostly when she says she wants to be `the mistress of her faith' or something like it. And so is Raoul --but that doesn't diminish the qualities of this engaging novel.
All in all, this is a French classic that I highly recommend --however one must be patient because the narrative is a little confusing and slow sometimes, but never boring.
But Gaston Leroux's novel is still a spellbinding experience, full of atmospheric horror, a sense of gothic mystery, and lushly evocative language. But its crown jewel is Erik: a magnificently tortured anti-hero who inspires more horror, pity and sympathy than the rather flat hero and heroine.
The Paris opera house is said to be haunted by a ghost with a "death's head," who demands a small salary and a reserved box. Despite the sightings and fears of ballerinas and stagehands, the new managers are determined to stamp out this ridiculous story -- despite threatening letters and increasing accidents that happen around them.
Meanwhile, budding diva Christine Daae is taking Paris by storm, although nobody quite knows who taught her how to sing. And when her childhood friend Viscount Raoul de Chagny pays her a visit, he hears a passionate exchange between her and a man -- but there's no man there. She credits her new vocal abilities to the Angel of Music, but of course, that self-same Angel is the opera ghost.
As the Phantom becomes even more attached to Christine, Raoul soon finds that the ghost is actually a half-mad, horribly deformed musical genius named Erik -- and that after Christine saw his true face, he made her become engaged to him. The young lovers plan to run away together, but the "Angel of Music" isn't about to allow his beloved Christine to leave him...
Apparently there actually were some odd events -- including rumours of an opera ghost -- happening when Gaston Leroux began writing "The Phantom of the Opera.Read more ›
If you have not read Phantom yet, you may be a bit distracted by the voluminous footnotes. For the familiar reader however, the footnotes are the main reason to buy this edition. Wolf provides valuable insight into many areas of the text. He points out inconsistencies: Raoul goes from being 21 to 20. He provides commentary on the mythological allusions in the text.
Most valuable, he provides artistic commentary on the book. He shows how Phantom fits into Gothic conventions: the damsel-in-distress being menaced by a sexually threatening outsider, only to be rescued by a non-sexual aristocrat. But it is not quite that simple; Wolf shows that there are only two protagonists in the piece: Christine and Erik. He rightly shows Raoul for the foolish little sap that he is. He thinks that Leroux intended it to be that way, and that Christine has a much stronger bond with Erik than she does Raoul.
On the whole, I wish Wolf had written more. How about interpretive essays on the various adaptations, including the Lloyd Weber musical? He does include a lengthy introduction about the novel and Gaston Leroux himself. This volume is a must-have for any Phantom-enthusiast.
I must admit that at first glance the book seems very dry and written more or less from a reporter or journalist's perspective. More or less it reminded me of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula in the fact that many of the areas of the book are written though the point of others. But once you get past seemingly the dry exterior you find an immeasurable cornucopia of amazing characters, events and one of the best literary love's and gothic work of fiction. IT personally took me a good 20 pages before I became completely absorbed in Leroux's rich world of amazing detail.
The story mainly revolves around the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny who has fallen in love with the beautiful Christine Daae who is being haunted by a mysterious "ghost" in her dressing room. The plot moves as anyone would suspect when Christine begins to return the feelings of the Vicomte but then he soon comes to realize that Christine's ghost is real and has a thing or three to say about their relationship.
I found this novel amazing, I read it in one day from the moment I picked it up and nearly had it confiscated when I was reading it in class when I should have been taking notes. There is just so much raw emotion, mystery and love in this amazing story. I could not help but be swept up in it like a tidal wave. The book gives the character of the Phantom, or Erik, so much more depth and emotions than what the ALW version even began to scratch the surface of.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What could I say about the Phantom of the Opera. A great book. I am very biased about this book because I love the Phantom of the Opera Broadway and the 25th Anniversary at the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Francesco
Love this book, the copy I got was used but in excellent condition. Highly recommend for any Phantom of the Opera lovers that want to read it for the first time without a bunch of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The Phantom of the Opera is now one of my favorite books. While it's certainly dark, it gives another perspective to the world and it was a rather life changing read.Published 1 month ago by Alyssa Smeltzer