Welcome to The Red Opera

The website about the work of Paul Hoffman


Why is it the site called Red Opera?

The site is named after The Red Opera in The Left Hand of God where Cale appears before the hostile citizens of Memphis who have turned up to see him slaughtered by Solomon Solomon. In a sense the trilogy presents life as a Red Opera, all high drama and high emotions and much blood – something that accurately reflects how history works itself out in real life. I didn’t want to call it paulhoffman.com because it feels too much like a shrine to myself – it seems laughably self important. I want this site to be an arena for discussion, not a fan site. I saw an article recently about the need for us all to have a curated self – an online record of our achievements and general wonderfulness that we could present to the world in general and possible employers in particular. I’d go a long way to avoid having a curated self.

What is the stone cut out of the dissected girl in The Left Hand of God?

This seems to have intrigued a great many people, not to say irritated them because it isn’t explained. It may surprise readers to know that I can’t remember everything I’ve written for sure but I thought I’d explained it as a kidney stone caused by the excessively rich diet given to the girls. It’s interpreted by Picarbo as of magical significance in terms of explaining the malign power of women because he inhabits a world where spirits and demons really exist – and, of course, he’s also mad.

I have just started reading the third book and I was wondering whether the reference of the Sanitarium where Cale is placed at the beginning of the book is true. I am aware that there was a place for lunatics in a small village call 'Karvounas' but I am quite sure that it is not that old. Is this place real or fiction?

Oddly enough I visited Cyprus last year and the surroundings of The Priory and the trip up the mountain are based closely on the landscape around where I was staying. But the connection with Karvounas is just an interesting coincidence.

We will add answers to FAQs as they become clear through Readers’ Comments.