The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Publishing: January 7, 2020 by Poisoned Pen Press (First published as a novel in 1911)
Just a Few Words: I have seen the musical, and the movie, but this is the first time I have read this classic. Once I got past the intro and prologue, I started to enjoy it. Note that I found the epilogue quite long and tiresome as well.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux is a classic, and has been placed in many different genres from Gothic romance to mystery to horror. What few tell you, is that it is part comedy, although that may be an “era” thing. Some of the dialog is hilarious.
First, let me thank NetGalley, and the publisher Poisoned Pen Press, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
My Synopsis: (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)
When young understudy Christine Daaé is forced to replace an ailing singer, she takes the Paris Opera House by storm. Her amazing voice brings her to the attention of Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, who knew her when they were children. He falls in love.
Unfortunately, another is also enraptured by her…the one who is teaching her to sing so beautifully. Christine initially believes that he is the Angel of Music sent by her deceased father to train her. She is wrong.
The Paris Opera House has a ghost. When new managers take over, they cannot believe that everyone is playing this massive joke on them. They even receive correspondence from the Phantom, who goes by OG (opera ghost), who insists that Box Five be left vacant for his use. As well, he demands a monthly sum of money. Shaking their heads, the managers dismiss the joke. It will not be long until they explore things in more detail.
When Christine disappears in front of an entire audience, Raoul knows he must find the Phantom if he is to find Christine.
Then there is the Persian, who seems to know the Opera House like the back of his hand, and seems to have a lot of information on the Phantom. Raoul and the Persian will have to rely on each other if there is any chance of saving Christine.
Well, after a really long introduction and prologue…we finally began.
The author was inspired by events at the Palai Garnier around 1870. Leroux researched the building and the rumours, and insists he wrote the true version of events. In fact the Opera House exists, the underground lake exists and the tale of the chandelier falling is well-documented. Leroux even on his deathbed, insisted the phantom was real. True or not, the book has captured the hearts of many.
The characters are very strong. Christine is a very naive young girl, Raoul is a heartsick young man, and Erik is an angry, bitter and obsessive man. The Persian is a kind-hearted man who wants to see justice done.
The story is a tragedy. It is a story of unrequited love and jealousy, of compassion, of hatred. Although some of the writing seems “old”, it is good to remember it was written in the early 1900’s. For a book of that era, it actually reads very easily.
The overly dramatic atmosphere of the book translates well to stage, and I have to say that I really enjoyed the Andrew Lloyd Webber play. Webber really romanticized the phantom, and although I am not a fan of romance novels, it worked for the play. However, the book had so much more depth….
Bottom line….it was good.
Read: January, 2020
Favorite Quotes from The Phantom of the Opera:
“Why, he, the man who hides behind that hideous mask of death!…The evil genius of the churchyard at Perros!…Red Death!…In a word, madam, your friend…your Angel of Music!…But I shall snatch off his mask, as I shall snatch off my own; and, this time, we shall look each other in the face, he and I, with no veil and no lies between us; and I shall know whom you love and who loves you!”
“Are people so unhappy when they love?” “Yes, Christine, when they love and are not sure of being loved.”
About The Author: Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux (1868 – 1927) was a French journalist, a gambler, and an author of detective fiction. He was born in Paris, and went to school in Normandy. Phantom of the Opera was his best known work of fiction.
I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3129019910?