First review of Roy Claire Potter’s The Wastes

Thanks to So Anyway Magazine and Derek Horton for this first review of The Wastes by Roy Claire Potter

Travel, sometimes walking, briefly on a bus, but mostly a journey on a miserable and unreliable commuter train across the Pennines from Liverpool to Hull, is also central to the narrative of The Wastes. The journeyings it recounts are both purposeful and aimless. It is a powerful novel of introspection and observation, revealing much about the underbelly of the landscapes and towns of northern England. It concerns survival, economically, culturally, and psychologically. From the multiple perspectives of class, financial hardship, gender identity, sexuality, embodiment, and mental health, and in the various contexts of strained family and other personal relationships, and the capitalist alienation of underpaid and stressful work, The Wastes is ultimately concerned with the self: shaping or defining it; losing and regaining a sense of it; locating it in relation to the selfhood of others. “Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt”, wrote the Roman poet Horace two millennia ago – “they change their sky, not their soul, who rush across the sea”, reminding us that wherever we go, we remain, in our embodied selves, where we are. Each in their own way, Potter and Fletcher use travel in their narratives to reflect on how we shape and understand our ‘selves’.

Derek Horton, So Anyway Magazine

Read the full review here.

First review of Roy Claire Potter’s The Wastes; ; January 1970; | Commission: Arrhythmia Artist: Potter, Roy Claire; Editor: Palmer, Katrina; | Publisher: Book Works: | Designer: Traven T. Croves