Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

GENRE: Gothic romance

When the new managers of the Paris Opera House ignore their predecessors’ warnings about the hideous Opera Ghost stalking the theatre, it is a fatal mistake. Tortured by unrequited love for the beautiful young singer Christine Daae, the mysterious figure living in the depths beneath them has been awaiting his chance to strike. And when Christine suddenly disappears after a triumphant singing performance, it becomes clear that the phantom’s time has come. Filled with colour and theatrical spectacle, this thrilling gothic tale has enthralled readers with its mystery, eerie suspense and tragic story of love turned into deadly obsession.


This novel by Gaston Leroux is my favourite novel of all time, and I chose to review it to express my love and admiration for this book. The novel was published in 1910 and has been adapted to several popular films and into one of the most successful stage musicals of all time, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.

At the centre of the novel is the Phantom, whose name is simply Erik, and he is one of the reasons, if not the main reason, why this novel, this story, is so wildly popular. He is many things. He is a sensitive soul, a composer, a magician, a ventriloquist, even an architect; in short, a genius. He is an object of pity and horror because of the face he hides behind a mask and he is hopelessly in love with Christine Daae, who is out of his reach. At the same time, he is a menacing figure, a true enigma, a blackmailer and a dangerous man who has killed before. His home is hidden in the catacombs of the Opera Garnier and it is his artistic domain, as well as his prison. He finds a unique way to come into contact with Christine Daae, but trouble arises for the Phantom when Christine’s childhood sweetheart, the dashing young viscount Raoul de Chagny, comes back into her life.

The book is written in a journalistic style, but as much as I usually dislike this style, it did not bother me in the slightest with Leroux’s masterpiece. The writing is very clear and runs smoothly. Descriptions are direct and vivid, some of them also truly poetic. Leroux truly allows the reader to become immersed in the world of art, music, opera, mystery, operatic drama and emotions. It will really keep you hooked, especially since basically, this is a story about obsession gone terribly wrong. It is a thriller that is absolutely beautiful. An unusual combination, but this is what the book is. I confess that am I a little biased, since this is my favourite novel, but I would truly recommend this book to everyone. It’s one of the must-read classics. No matter your usual reading style and the genres you like, this novel will stay with you one way or another. It is too special not to leave some sort of mark in your memory, especially the Phantom’s complex character. Leroux will keep you wondering about the Phantom and his existence long after you have finished reading the book.

This is a novel perfect for readers who like mystery and romance, danger and excitement, puzzles, obsession and, of course, music.



Milka said...

I agree with you about the 10 stars! This book is amazing. I read it for the first time about 3 years ago, I just bought my own copy of it a while ago, I am just waiting for my summer holiday so I can give all the time it deserves for reading it. :)

arleny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
arleny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
arleny said...

This is one of my favorite story stories of all time. I got it as a present from an old boyfriend and after reading it I had to watch the musical and the movie. It definitely deserves 10 stars!!

Sorry for the delete comment. :)