23 diciembre 2019

Review: The Phantom of the Opera


Reseña en español
Review in English

Good morning, nighters. How have you been? I have been distanced by putting many things in order to close the year as I must and have a good idea of ​​what I should do in 2020. And you? ^^’ I hope I’m not the only maniac of the order, as a good friend and colleague calls me.
I just finished reading The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux, specifically the edition of the Haunted Library Horror Classics, which contains the original novel, with some notes, recommendations and a guide for questions to discuss that made me think a lot.
The plot is simple: It can be summed up in that Christine Daaé, a singer who had not attracted the attention of the Parisian press demonstrates an unprecedented vocal skill as if she had improved overnight. This awakens feelings that Raoul de Chagny, his childhood friend, though forgotten. However, Raoul's surprise is capitalized when he discovers that Christine is tutored by an alleged Angel of Music, although others know him as the phantom of the opera, who seems to have a lot of interest in the young singer.
The erratic narration and neglected style took me out of the reading several times. Reading the history of the novel, I discovered that it was received without penalty or grace in its time and that even today it's considered an inept book by some academics. Let's say I understand such perception, although I don't share it.
Gaston Leroux created a good story of mystery and obsession in The Phantom of the Opera. The characters may not show their full potential, but they are attractive, especially Christine and the ghost himself.
This book makes us wonder if talent and skills are the only thing necessary to succeed or if society has the last choice as to who goes up and who sinks, as well as the role that women play in the author's France. Whether or not it is a Gothic book is a matter open to debate, but it's undeniable it has several traditional elements, along with touches of horror and romance, although the latter is the weakest of the genres.
If I'm honest, I disliked the plot holes and the background-matters of some characters from The Phantom of the Opera. Specifically, the fact that Gaston Leroux gave more importance to secondary characters than to the protagonists when it came to their past. It was frustrating, entertaining sometimes, but frustrating in general.
Despite all this, I can understand why this book became a classic, not to mention that the edition of the Haunted Library Horror Classics is magnificent. I loved the recommended reading list that appears in the end, and the questions to discuss made me see The Phantom of the Opera from another point of view as a story.
Gaston Leroux had interesting ideas and a perception of the world that many of us can share well considering the current situation in which we live, where the marginalized are demonized and the most benefited live unhappy. Could it be that The Phantom of the Opera is a fatalistic and immortal portrait of humanity? I think so.


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