The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Published July 7, 2020

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Book info

  • Title The Phantom of the Opera
  • Author Gaston Leroux
  • Year 1909
  • Genres Classics, Horror, Romance

Erik, the Phantom of the Paris Opera House, is one of the great icons of horror literature. This tormented and disfigured creature has made his home in the labyrinthine cellars of this opulent building where he can indulge in his great passion for music, which is a substitute for the love and emotion denied him because of his ghastly appearance. It is in the Opera House that he encounters Christine Daaé whom he trains in secret to become a great singer. Erik’s passionate obsession with a beautiful woman beyond his reach is doomed and leads to the dramatic tragic finale.


I listened to an audiobook reading of this which was very good, although the reader trying to get through quite so many French words was a bit difficult. It’s a good story, though. I was surprised how close to the musical it is, and yet so far away. The book is formatted more like a memoir, pieced together from fragments of evidence and eye-witness accounts, but is still at heart a ghost story that you have to believe in.

The love story is somehow less nuanced than the musical, but also less hypnotic which is a good thing. I like the description of all the various tricks the Phantom pulls off - particularly in the torture room of very hot trees (weird sentence). Good, glad I’ve read it, but I’m not sure it’s a winner for me.

Rating: 3 / 5

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