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The Essential Phantom of The Opera by Gaston…
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The Essential Phantom of The Opera

by Gaston Leroux

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This book is a wonderful example of the gothic horror genre. The atmosphere is moody and oppressive, the villian has a deformed exterior to match his deformed soul, the heroine is virginal and chaste, and there is a definite hint of social commentary mixed in for good measure.

I enjoyed the humor in the novel, mainly in the behaviors of the two sets of managers and the Opera Ghosts box keeper. I thought the action was well plotted, and the gothic device of framing the story as a true account, with multiple "sources" - is employed to good effect.

The main flaw I found here is in the characters. Erik and the Deroga seemed well drawn and developed but I found myself unable to really connect with either Raoul or Christine. The characters are not fully fleshed out and therefore hard to relate to. I found the love story between Raoul and Chrisitne to be bloodless, but Erik's passion is on full display.

I recommend this to any fans of the gothic form, fans of the musical and television adaptations, and literature types in general, but the casual reader looking for a romance, horror or adventure story may not find great enjoyment in it.

PS -
I have read in many of the comments here that Erik should be pitied and that he was not really bad. While he was hideously deformed at birth, and that is indeed pitiable, let us not forget that he was an assassin, a torturer, a spy, an intriguer, and a generally unsavory character for most of his life before coming to Paris. ( )
1 vote k71477 | Feb 3, 2010 |
I can see why this is such a classic, but it does run a little long. It took me forever to read this book. I actually have yet to finish it.

The characters are interesting and provoking. The story is enticing, but the narrator/detective guy bores me to tears.

I like how this edition told you how Leroux came up with the story. And the foot notes help to get a birds-eye view of the story. ( )
  slightlyfan | Jan 17, 2007 |
Thorough, sometimes snarky annotation of the classic novel. My favorite parts are the notes on Leroux's many, many inconsistencies and dropped plot points, which really only make me love the book more, for some reason. My only problem is that the translation itself is a bit pedestrian--the classic translation, on the other hand, can be clunky but also preserves a certain lyrical quality (see Christine's description of the Phantom's lair and what happened there) that this one doesn't have. ( )
  cleolinda | Dec 31, 2006 |
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The Essential Phantom of the Opera is an annotated edition of the work, rather than simply the original work itself.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743498364, Paperback)

The Essential Phantom of the Opera is the most comprehensive edition ever produced of the classic 1911 novel of romance, mystery, and psychological suspense, fully annotated with thousands of fascinating facts and legends. Here is the complete, authoritative edition of literature's most bizarre tale of love, obsession, and aberration-a story that has held an irresistible fascination for audiences and readers for nearly a century.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:24 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Presents a comprehensive, fully annotated edition about the classic 1911 horror novel about a demented musician who haunts the nineteenth-century Paris Opera House.

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