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The Phantom of the Opera (Knickerbocker Classics) Flexibound – October 1, 2016
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About the Author
Gaston Leroux (1868-1927) was a French journalist and novelist born in Paris. The Phantom of the Opera is his most-famous work, and is best known for its adaptation into the longest-running Broadway musical.
Susan Balee has published essays and reviews on American and British literature in journals ranging from the Women's Review of Books to the Weekly Standard. She has been a regular contributor to the Hudson Review since 1992.
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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.
Some belive in the rumours while others only laugh it off.
But ghost or no ghost, there are few persons that will have to belive that there is something hiding in the shadowy halls after getting involved with a mysterious phantom.
The new managers of the opera start receiving letters from someone claiming to be the Opera Ghost. At first they take it as a joke but after some time the joke has stopped being funny.
Roul has finally come across his childhood friend and the girl of his dreams again after a long time, but fore some reason she acts like she doesn‘t
Christine, a performer in the Opera is finally starting to become recognised for her beautiful singing voice. But for her recognition she may have gotten her self into something terrible that she can‘t escape from.
The Persian is a man that works in the opera but no one seems to know much about him. He comes from far away but doesn‘t seem to have escaped from his past demons.
I liked the Phantom of the Opera, but I would have liked the book overall to be a bit more dark and creepy. And I have to say that I didn‘t really connect that much to the characters or the romance as I wanted to.
But in the end there was a very good idea behind the story and a feeling of mystery through out the book.
Most recent customer reviews
Practice your French pronunciation.
The Christine role is far stronger in the book then the film. Yep