The original Phantom: Before the Andrew Lloyd Webbers musical,
there was Gaston Lerouxs original novel The Phantom of the Opera.
If you have never seen the production stage, and know only a few
things of the story, then...when you reach the middle of the
narrative you will be surprised because it is totally different
from what you will expect. And it is a great surprise.
More than a love story, The Phantom of the Opera is a gothic
tale of obsession --leading to madness. The Paris Opera House and
its hidden rooms, and underground are the perfect place to develop
a horror story. Leroux noticed this potential. His descriptions of
the place are creepy and in the end we start wondering if it is not
a true story indeed.
Leroux was very smart, writing a novel like he was only
reporting something --and not creating a work of fiction. Therefore
there are police reports, newspapers scraps, witness interviews.
More than a narrator, the person who is telling the story is only
gathering useful information for the reader.
His characters are real human beings --even the ghost, of whom
throughout the narrative we realize that he is the one with most
human characteristics. Sometimes, Christine is a little
stereotypical, mostly when she says she wants to be the mistress of
her faith or something like it. And so is Raoul --but that doesnt
diminish the qualities of this engaging novel.
All in all, this is a French classic that is highly
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