Monday 11 July 2022

Leroux, Gaston "The Phantom of the Opera"

Leroux, Gaston "The Phantom of the Opera" (French: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra) - 1910
This is my ninth Classic Spin and we were given #5. And it also coincides with another challenge I take part in: Paris in July.

My niece gave this to me. Thank you, Jessica. She had received it from a friend and said she'd never read it. I said I love classics and would gladly read it. And I am always interested in reading any classic book and loved most of them. So, I put the book on my classics spin list and the number was drawn. Looks like it was the right time for it.

The description of the story says that it's riveting. Maybe I already heard too much about it before but I thought I misunderstood the word. But no, it is supposed to be completely engrossing; compelling. Well, it is a little too "fantastic" for me, a little too gothic.

Well written and the characters come to life, though I didn't really care for any of them. I love the French language and I really like the French but I seem to struggle with their literature. I have no idea why.

I like a few of the songs written for the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber but I have never watched it. There must be a reason.

We read this in our international online book club in November 2023.

Some remarks from the discussion. The meeting was started with listening to the Phantom of the Opera signature song by Sarah Brightman and Steve Harley to make a suitable gothic atmosphere. 
The original story was much more a book than expected. It had a backstory, very visual storytelling, and a scary villain. Of course with old stories like this, it had not aged so well in terms of gender equality, but the mechanics and psychology of the phantom was quite interesting.
We were happy to know the original story now, compared to just the Webber musical version.

From the back cover:

"First published in French as a serial in 1909, The Phantom of the Opera is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine's childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous 'ghost' of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster.

Leroux's work, with characters ranging from the spoiled prima donna Carlotta to the mysterious Persian from Erik's past, has been immortalized by memorable adaptations. Despite this, it remains a remarkable piece of Gothic horror literature in and of itself, deeper and darker than any version that follows.


  1. I really liked this one. But then I don't mind Gothic or fantastic. Sorry this one didn't work for you. :)

    1. I almost knew though I hoped it wouldn't be so, Lark. Thanks.

  2. That was certainly a cool gift to receive!
    Nice presentation

    1. Yes, Emma, I have some wonderful nieces who always think of me.

  3. I've often wondered how closely the Weber stage production follows the original story - it sounds like quite a lot! Except for the singing of course!

    1. Honestly, Brona, I've never even watched the film. So, I couldn't tell but I heard it is quite close.