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The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera (1910)

by Gaston Leroux

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,292122485 (3.78)239
  1. 80
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Another great Victorian horror novel.
  2. 70
    Dracula by Bram Stoker (Anonymous user)
  3. 10
    Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran by Marion Grace Woolley (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Those Rosy Hours takes a few brief mentions of a minor character in The Phantom of the Opera and turns it into a whole, enthralling story of desire and death.
  4. 00
    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (sturlington)
  5. 11
    The Scarlett Pimpernel (TineOliver)
  6. 22
    The Collector by John Fowles (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both have "monsters" holding the object of their affection captive

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English (111)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  German (2)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (121)
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Book on CD narrated by Alexander Adams

Is there anyone left on the planet who doesn’t know this storyline? Christine Daaé is elevated from the ranks of the chorus to opera star, thanks to the private lessons by and the patronage of The Opera Ghost. “OG” (as he signs his notes to management) also sees to it that anyone standing in the way of his protégé meets with an accident or is otherwise persuaded to stand aside. But when Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, sees Christine at the Paris Opera House, he remembers the little girl whose scarf he rescued. Now he wants nothing more than to rekindle their relationship. Christine is drawn to Raoul, but still tightly in the grasp of the phantom she believes is the Angel of Music her father promised to send her when he was on his death bed.

The passion of the story, as well as the horror, mystery and danger, have kept it a favorite for over a century. It’s been adapted to film several times, and of course made into the hit musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber, but the novel does much more to explain The Phantom’s underlying psychology and twisted motivations.

I enjoyed the story, but it’s not really to my taste, and I found it hard to believe the characters. I think this may be partly due to Adams’s reading; he has a voice with an annoying tone. (Remember hearing those OLD news reels circa 1930s or 1940s? He sounds like those announcers.) At times I felt he was just reading words, without any feeling behind it. Other times I felt the emotion was just forced. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 2, 2016 |
It's an ok read, but I suggest seeing the stage play instead. ( )
  Belles007 | Jan 17, 2016 |
The classic tale of the opera ghost who becomes obsessed with a singer. I found parts of the story to be slow and it never really scared me. I did feel sorry for the opera ghost by the end of the book. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
“No more talk of darkness. Forget these wide-eyed fears. I'm here, nothing can harm you. My words will warm you and calm you...”

OK OK, I won't go there, no Andrew Lloyd Wibbly in this review. The Phantom of the Opera seems to have joined the rank of books that few people bother to read because too many people assume they already know the entire story. There is a lot more to the novel than a crazy guy with half a mask abducting a girl just to give her some free singing lessons. I mean who does that?

Interestingly in this English translation of Gaston Leroux’s novel by Alexander Teixeiros de Mattos the character commonly known in popular media as The Phantom is never called that in the book. He is more commonly referred to as the Opera Ghost, the Angel of Music and Erik. He even signs his letters O.G. The word phantom seldom appears in the book, and never as a reference to Erik. I cannot speak for the original French version of course. Unfortunately, this precludes anybody referring to him as The Phantom Menace* when he is being particularly destructive.

As you would expect the most interesting character in the book is the Opera Ghost himself. I suspect Erik may be the prototype for the fictional psychopathic geniuses like Hannibal Lector. His wide range of abilities makes him almost superhuman: brilliant singer, genius architect, magician, ventriloquist, weapon expert etc.

“You must not think, Raoul, that he is simply a man who amuses himself by living underground. He does things that no other man could do; he knows things which nobody in the world knows.”

The most enjoyable aspect of the book for me is Erik popping up unseen all over the place in the Paris Opera, thanks to his stealth and the numerous secret passages that he created. He often seems like an omnipotent supernatural creature. His subterranean lair is an eerie creation and very atmospheric. The intensity of his madness is also awesome.

The other characters are somewhat less successfully developed. Christine Daaé is too good to be believable, her lover Vicomte Raoul de Chagny comes across like an impassioned idiot most of the time. In spite of his zombie-face and pizza-like complexion, Erik seems a much better prospect than whiny Raoul. The only interesting secondary character is a mysterious man called The Persian who knows more about Erik than anybody else.

Erik’s only foible is his love for Christine Daaé which causes a lot of grief for all parties concerned. Erik’s ugliness is off the scale, with a face not even a mother could love, so of course what he wants most in the would is to be loved. The Phantom of the Opera is – as you would expect – a story of an unrequited and obsessive love. It is also a story of extreme loneliness and madness.

I had a really good time reading/listening to the book (hopping back and forth between audiobook** and e-book as appropriate). If you are looking for a book to read during Halloween and don’t want to spend any money The Phantom of the Opera is just the thing.
* Can't put in Whovian reference, may as well do Star Wars.

**Free audiobook from Librivox (of course) nicely read by Ralph Snelson. Thank you! ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
confusing when you don't know the story. Not an appealing writing style and lots of open ends. Different storytellers make it difficult to follow the story and the underground scenes are not properly explained. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Sep 4, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (109 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaston Lerouxprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, AlexanderNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bair, LowellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flynn, John L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibson, FloNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haining, PeterForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregoryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teague, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teixeira de Mattos, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitener, BarrettNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
The opera ghost really existed.
None will ever be a true Parisian who has not learned to wear a mask of gaiety over his sorrows and one of sadness, boredom or indifference over his inward joy.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work refers to full text unabridged versions of The Phantom of the Opera (including translations).

Abridged or early reader versions which do not contain the full text should not be combined here.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
blurb: In a cavernous, the lights dim. A beautiful young soprano, Christine Daae, comes onstage to sing Marguerite in Gounod’s ‘Faust’. In the audience, the Vicomte de Chagny is overcome with love. But unbeknownst to Chagny, he has a rival for the singer’s affections: the Opera Ghost, a spectre sometimes called the Angel of Music.This is the appropriately gothic set up for The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux’s enduringly popular thriller. With a plot as convoluted as the hidden passages beneath the opera house and a cast of characters as numerous as the chorus of Aida, the novel works its spell through a sheer accumulation of intricate detail and shadowy menace. A falling chandelier (taken from a true incident) and an underground lake add to the gloom and dread. The novel, richer than any of it’s adaptations, is best read at night, with the lights turned low, and with music - ‘Faust’, perhaps - playing softly in the background.

AR7.1, 12 Pts
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060809248, Mass Market Paperback)

The novel that inspired the Lon Chaney film and the hit musical. "The wildest and most fantastic of tales."--New York Times Book Review.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:35 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opera House falls in love with a beautiful soprano and, in his desperation to have his love returned, embarks on some terrifying means towards that end.

» see all 26 descriptions

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25 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141035935, 0141191503

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102766, 1400108993

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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