Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux
I did not know that this was even a book. When I was about 16, the Broadway musical was a big hit and most of my friends lived in the grip of Phantom-mania. I never saw the show or the movie, so I was pretty clueless about all of it.
But it turns out that originally, it was a mystery by one of the original detective-story geniuses! The Phantom of the Opera was published in 1910 (in French of course), and it wasn't very popular at all, but the film adaptations did much better.
The story is told by a detective who does relatively little detecting in the story; mostly he just narrates the information he has gathered. It is the story of the young Swedish singer, Christine Daae, the young and romantic aristocrat Raoul who loves her, and the "Opera Ghost" who is obsessed with her. He has a deformed face which makes him an outcast. He is also diabolically clever and entirely insane.
I enjoyed the story, which is more Gothic tale than detective novel. That was a pleasant surprise. I still don't plan on seeing the show, though.