Friday, 30 September 2016

Book Notes: "Phantom of the Opera" by Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the OperaThe Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A timeless classic in the Gothic horror genre, rightly compared with Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre-Dame. The afterword mentions an American reviewer's distaste for the opera ghost being merely human, but after seeing many horror movies in recent times where the face of the supernatural being is revealed, I am inclined to prefer the man masquerading as a ghost any time. Apparently Leroux wrote detective novels before this work and the influence is noticeable. The nature of the building and the brilliant descriptions (or more accurately, allusions) to the opera itself recall many a nightmare where one is trapped underground. Leroux had access to the Palais Garnier to research his work and it is obvious in the story. This was an easy and enjoyable read and one I should have completed many years earlier. While I do not usually have a preference for the Gothic genre, this 1910 classic presents a complex mood that, for me, was belied by the images of the phantom singing with Marina Prior that haunted Australian televisions screens throughout the 1990s.



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