- Paperback: 102 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 14, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1516896726
- ISBN-13: 978-1516896721
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 1,947 customer ratings
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#821,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #38611 in Crime Thrillers (Books)
The Phantom of the Opera Paperback – August 14, 2015
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Maybe you're used to the commonly portrayed Phantom, a reasonably good looking, athletic, fit man with a bad sunburn, fortunately covered by his mask. (Gerard Butler? Lovely, handsome, rock star voice, but not my Phantom of choice.)
Or perhaps it's a musical Phantom, romantic and sweet with a touch of rage and mommy issues. (Andrew Lloyd Weber? I'm looking your way while swooning at Michael Crawford.)
Or so many of the Phanfics where he's truly a sweet, caring, misunderstood man deeply in love with Christine, a musical genius with his first crush, unsure of how to act, while Raoul is a simpering idiot swooning for her affection, or a cruel man not worthy of her. (Phanfic writers? Keep 'em coming, I can't read them fast enough.)
None of these are the Phantom, the Opera Ghost, you'll find in this book. He's most often referred to as a monster, an evil cruel demon torturing people for fun, hideously deformed to the point of needing a mask to remotely resemble a person. Christine is surprised to feel pity for him, her daddy issues melding with his mommy issues temporarily until she sees the psycho...
*ahem* Until she sees the psychotic, twisted man ready to blow up the Opera House and everyone in it unless she capitulates to his demands. Sweet, caring romantic? Not this Gothic horror story. Here he's a homicidal freak living in the cellars that he helped build, a hideaway from the world while he plays on a young dancer's emotions, teaching her to sing to fulfill his own desires and turning mad with rage when she's not agreeable to his plan to wed. And yet... There's still a touch of sweetness, of desperate pleas to just be like other men, to just be happy and accepted. You can see it in his words to Christine, and in the Persian's interview years after the fact, once the fright of one of the worst evenings of his life has worn off.
Some other familiar characters are in this version that may or may not be in other versions. Mme Giry, who helps Erik, much to the consternation of the theatre managers, unaware of what they've purchased. The Persian, telling his story of what happened in the cellars, and how they barely escaped. Raoul, sweet boy of Christine's childhood turned into the man of her dreams while Erik is probably still, decades later, giving her nightmares.
The style is of an expose newpaper writer, sharing the scandalous tale while citing references and trying to remain detached. Romance? Hardly, even if only seen from Erik's view. Elegant story that launched countless remakes and tributes? Absolutely. It will remain one of my favorites because of that.
Gaston Leroux did the unimaginable, he created the first loveable psychopath. Unlike his contemporaries, whose "bad guys" were really "bad," The Opera Ghost is relatable. We understand his need to be loved leads to his obsession and his ultimate demise. We pity him. We love him. At times, we love him to the point that we despise Christine for her unwillingness to love him as we do. It is nearly impossible to garner sympathy for Comte de Chagny because he is the antithesis of the Opera Ghost.
However, we do not go into the book expecting to side with the Opera Ghost. He is the villain, the bad guy, the one we expect to despise. Yet Leroux's masterful creation of his character leads us naturally to change our perspective and preconceived notions of who is really the villain.
Top international reviews
I bought it as a paperback, and did not think to check the dimensions: 21.6 x 0.7 x 27.9 cm. That is more like a magazine than a paperback. There are only 124 pages, and the whole is very floppy. It is uncomfortable to hold and read, totally ruining my experience of the wonderful book.
I just can't read this annoying edition. I paid £3.58, but the Collins Classic for £2.50 from Amazon Prime would have been the better choice, at 320 pages.
I won't be returning the book, because the dimensions were there in the listing, and it's my fault not to have read it. I'll just have to order a more handy size, as I would recommend to other readers, and Phantom fans.
For all his faults though, the dude does like his music.
Reading through this story, one can start to think its a 'Ghost-story.' But the author, as it turns out, dedicated a part of his life to this 'Opera-Ghost,' wanting to be sure of his existence - or non-existence. He has sources, archives, spoken to the people of the time and he tells their story, and he tells it well! When I was reading this story, the possibility of this 'Phantom' of ever existing was totally ruled out in my book. What was this author thinking in seriously believing? How can one be in walls, have a bodiless voice, be here and there, be everywhere? Truth be told, the author leaves you questioning of his existence, that the Phantoms 'supernatural' behaviour wasn't so 'supernatural,' just a genius ahead of his time. And what a pitiful genius he was! This is one book that keeps you thinking long after you have read it.
If you know of Andrew Lloyd Webbers version, you will be impressed to learn that the book and the musical are very much different. Raoul in the musical seems brave and wise, in the book he strikes me as a pathetic love-sick puppy. A character which has no part in the musical has a dramatic effect on the real story; the Persian. Christine who seems to be a mad woman at the beginning turns into the pity stricken beauty towards the end as she is in the musical. Andre and Fermin are not so comical in the book as they are in the musical. The story is twisted and turned. So just because you have seen the musical, does not mean you know the story of the Phantom of the Opera!
This book is a very smooth, easy read, being written in the early nineteen-hundreds. Its possible to get mixed up with names, but the characters that you do get mixed up with are extremely unimportant to the plot, so it doesn't really matter. The narrative keeps you reading and you will curse whatever it is from every day life that pulls you away from it.
The character of the Phantom will stay with you forever, Compelling stuff. I can't recommend this masterpiece enough.
The haunting story of the musical genius who falls in love with a young soprano, Christine Daae, and tries to win her from her childhood sweetheart, Raoul, is perhaps best known these days in its musical format, and, when you read this book, you can see why it has inspired so many adaptations over the years.
For fans of Lloyd Webber's show, reading the inspiration behind it only serves to heighten the poignancy of the music, and occasionally you will spot the odd recognisable lyric between the pages. Once you've read it, you will never see the show in the same way again.
This is a gorgeous translation...but for a really striking read, those who can, take a look at it in French.
The events in the book and the film happen in a different order and have differing amounts of detail.
I enjoyed every page, from the beginning to the end.
I have of course seen the musical and it is exquisite.
Reading the original book though fills out the flesh of the story.
This is a must read book for all lovers of literature.