Le Fantôme

Written by Brigitta D'Arcy

Minerva Press, 1999 (Originally by Stationer's Hall, 1997)

These external manners of lament are merely shadows to the unseen grief that swells with silence in the tortured soul. There lies the substance.

~William Shakespeare

Erik meets the Ghost Whisperer
Special thanks to FdeLO for sending me her personal copy of this novelette for my Phantom Library Collection.

This is another - and I think much better - sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. True, the writing style... needs work... but I find it to be one of the most loving tributes I've found to date. The inspiration for her particular portrayal of Erik stems mostly from Joseph Merrick, aka "The Elephant Man," a most unusual citizen of late 19th century England who had the heart of a poet but a body twisted by a rare disease now named "The Proteus Syndrome." It is also obvious that her inspiration for this story also stems from the international musical hit by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the popular novel Phantom by Susan Kay.

The first half of this novelette traces the last days of Erik's life after Christine Daaé has left him for Raoul. A horribly grief-stricken Erik is slowly dying of heart failure... or what can more commonly be called "dying of a broken heart." His attempts at treating himself with various herbal medications proves futile and so he sets out to plan his own burial. Afraid that his body will be found and put on display, he blocks every possible entrance into his lair with explosives or whatever other means he can find. Within days, Erik becomes a literal Opera Ghost.

The last half of the novelette changes and begins to tell things from Erik's point of view. As a literal ghost, years feel only like days. He drifts beyond the confines of the Paris Opera House and finds his way to London, where he can hear his music being sung in a musical theater. He befriends a woman from the audience, attracted to her because of a bright light that surrounds her. The woman helps Erik via a "soul rescue," in which he tells her of all of his woes as she listens with sympathy. With all of his unresolved pain and anguish now healed, Erik is able to go to "the other side" in peace.

I have an interest in New Age Paganism and found it to be a loving tribute to Erik. It gave me another phuzzy phantom moment, something I had not experienced since the "Final Trio" scene from the miniseries starring Charles Dance. I admit, I am extremely ignorant of what a soul rescue is, but I still enjoy the book even with the awkward writing style. It's a loving tribute, to say the least: The Phantom of the Opera meets The Ghost Whisperer.

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