Monday, August 30, 2010

Susan Kay's Phantom

After finishing this glorious book (okay so everyone must know where this review is heading) for the fourth or fifth time - I am ready to review this wonderful gem - this "bible" to all phantom phans everywhere.

This book chronicles Erik's life from birth to his death - as well as covering a short time after his death as well. This short time after his death contains an unexpected twist at the book's ending - a twist that most definitely makes a phan pretty happy. The book is split up into seven different parts - providing a timeline of Erik's life and how he spent those years from a different viewpoint of some important characters in his life.

From birth in 1831 to 1840 he lived with his mother, from 1840 to 1843 he traveled around with some gypsies performing in a fair, from 1844 to 1846 he was a stone mason's apprentice, from 1850 to 1853 he spent time with the Shah of Persia (during the four year gap between 1846 and 1850 he was traveling in the fairs again), from 1856 to 1881 he was in Paris and began work on the Opera House with Charles Garnier - as well as living through the saga that we all know and love when he fell in love with Christine and tried to win her love. Raoul picks up the ending of the story in 1897 and this is when we learn a deep secret which I shall not divulge for any phan who hasn't purchased this book or had the chance to read it yet.

This book is such a wonderful work of art in the world of phan writing. It is so powerful, so sad, so compelling - every time I read it I can easily imagine it as a movie and I hope for the day that one might be produced. Kay opens up Erik's world and adds so much more dimension to it - he is much more understandable to anyone who might read this book -and non phans as well as phans alike should have more empathy and compassion toward's Erik after reading this novel. Power, love, and Erik as a duality between good and evil are recurring themes in Kay's novel. This book is worth every cent you might pay for it, as you shall read it over a few times and fall in love with it and Erik every single time. If you haven't picked up Kay's Phantom yet - you need too - it's essential to any phan's collection.

I shall end this entry with some of my favorite quotes from Kay's Phantom.
"Nothing had prepared me for Erik." Madeline
"But music was the keystone for his extraordinary genius." Madeline
"I can make anything dissapear, if I really want to. Anything except my face." Erik
"Impossibility was not a concept I acknowledged." Erik
"In the darkness you came to me. And in darkness you left...."Giovanni
"I never expected to feel anything again..."Erik
"You're always watching...what a pity you never quite manage to see." Erik
"Wherever this shadowed path might lead, we were both irrevocably committed to follow it to the end." Erik
"Then I did what any sensible person does when Erik gives her a direct demand. I obeyed him without question." Christine
"I envy her that calm, blissful animal ignorance, the inability to understand that Erik could die of a second seizure at any moment. Cats don't look ahead and contemplate the future, don't complicate their lives with doubt and uncertainty. They live only for the present; they know exactly what they want and they aren't afraid to take it. I wish...I wish I were that cat!" Christine
"My mind has touched the farthest horizons of mortal imagination and reaches outward to embrace infinity. There is no knowledge beyond my comprehension, no art or skill upon this entire planet that lies beyond the mastery of my hand. And yet, like Faust, I look in vain . . . for as long as I live, no woman will ever look on me in love." Erik