The International Writers Magazine
: Book Review

Crepuscule By Roman Payne
ISBN: 1-4116-1311-2 -
$19.68 - Lulu Press
Review by Gemma Roxanne Williams

"I can see it with my eyes: my innocence - broken and dead and lost forever on a filthy street in Paris."

A poetic exploration of the challenge given to our wildest dreams by the gritty reality that is this world. Crepuscule is a brave new look of the stories of old; in a voice sometimes so cutting the reader questions the sanity of the narration, sometimes so beautiful they get lost in idyllic dreams; Payne brings out the beauty in the horrific.

We meet David, stranded in the unkind streets of Paris without money, without health and without friends. His story, sometimes stooping to the filthy depths of humanity, sometimes soaring to the heights of our most romantic dreams, is delightfully interwoven with that of the salient Nastya, until their lives and dreams collide.

With the ghastly beauty of Paris as our background we watch the dreams and nightmares of David, who travelled the ocean in a box, and Nastya who left her humble Russian home to be transformed into the star of the Opéra Garnier by a charming French nobleman. The grand cities can be the most wonderful and the most awful of places, turning dreams and nightmares alike to reality. The reader watches, holding their breath as the horror and beauty of Paris is played out in the lives of passionately crafted characters.

The tragic end stands in stark contrast to the sprawling poetry of the earlier pages of the romance. This is Payne’s magic, the reader never quite settles into the story, never quite knows what will happen next. Even when the story is over, the book closed; still the reader wonders...
Beauty and disgust, love and hate, wild dreams and harsh reality are so blurred they are almost one in this unending story distilled through the unique voice of Roman Payne. The reader is almost lost as to where the narration ends and the story begins, as our omnipresent narrator involves us in the emotional rollercoaster that he too seems to feel along with his beautiful characters.
Sometimes enchanting, sometimes repulsive; Payne seems to search to the ends of every human emotion and still evoke something more poignant. With an almost mocking disregard for the rules, Payne marks his own way, and tells his own story and the grime of Paris lit by the beautiful morning light captures the essence, the timelessness and the beauty of his storytelling.
© Gemma Roxanne Williams Jan 2006

Gemma is in her second year on the Creative Writing programme at the University of Portsmouth

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