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November 17, 2019


Do atheists recoil from a Caravaggio painting if the subject depicted is religious? I think such a response must be very rare. Ask the same question about a work of modern fiction. Slightly different, isn’t it? People choose to read a work of fiction because they are interested in some aspect of it, such as genre, the subject, the author, the cover, the price, advertising, recommendation. If one of these aspects disinterests them, they wont read the book. Fair enough. The aspect we’re talking about here is ‘subject’, of course. At what point would your average atheist say, ‘No, that’s too much religion for me, thank you,’ and put the book down?

I can only invert the question: at what point...

October 20, 2019

Something personal happened to me about this time last year that blew my mind. As it relates to allegory and so the novel, I Am Not Gog, I feel it is appropriate to share it with you here, and I feel it is worth sharing because it is so astonishing. I’ll take this opportunity to give a brief primer about the use of allegory in literature and how it is pitched in the novel I Am Not Gog, which I intended to do sometime here, anyway.

From its most basic definition as ‘symbol’, the word ‘allegory’ can describe all art and its perceivable component parts. But that renders the word useless, so, we all agree that we are talking about a conscious use of symbology by an artist or writer to convey a...

September 22, 2019

[Spoiler alert]

When I set about writing this particular blog, I hadn’t realised there were five ‘fields’ in the novel to talk about. I was vaguely thinking about two or three, but it seems they’re more of a theme than that. Each of them were scenes of pivotal moments in Lydia's life.

First, there are the school playing fields at Great Mounts College, where Lydia was saved from the bullies, Madie and Tates. The college and its fields were based on my own college at Hinckley, John Cleveland College, where, it so happens, I overheard the idea that inspired the awful events on the recreation ground later in the same chapter.

Second, that recreation ground. It was based on the real rec behind B...

August 18, 2019

Where did the story come from? It was a long time ago, but I can remember a dream, and I usually say that that was the starting point. I think it was the start. I think it was the spark that took some ideas I was working on and put life into it, ignited my passion for it, urged me to find out more about what preceded the strange scene I had dreamed, and what might happen after it.


I was taking a sabbatical in Malaysia for a couple of years, practising the craft of fiction by writing short stories that were for my eyes only – crazy stuff that was just me allowing my creativity free reign. There was even one about how giraffes, all over the world, were suddenly able to fly. Mad, embarrassing t...

July 14, 2019

[Spoiler alert]


Music is a big part of my process in writing. It evokes moods in which the imagination can find more out of a situation, a character, or a place. Lyrics can also carry ideas or prompts. Sometimes the effect is slight or even whimsical, but there are times when it is significant, with the music almost driving the creative process. So, when I begin a project, I’m exploring new music for inspiration all the time. This is moreso for the novel I’m currently researching because music is a key element to the story, whereas in I Am Not Gog, any reference to music was incidental. Music was still important to the creation of it, though, and here I’ll give some insights as to what sound...

June 16, 2019

I'm a huge fan of dining scenes in film and literature. Whatever the story, I just want to be right in there with them, enjoying the meal. So, it's no surprise to me that there are several dining scenes in I Am Not Gog. All of the dining locations are based on real eateries and their fictional names have allegorical significance. Let's have a little nibble at the most important ones...

The photo above is of Brookside Fish Bar in Hinckley, which our family used to frequent when I was a child (forty years ago). As far as I can remember, it was Dad's role to fetch the fish supper in his car if we were to indulge. It was like a Mum's night off. When I was a bit older, I'd drop by after school wit...

May 27, 2019

As reviewers, authors are the hardest critics out there. They have their own reputation to think of. This is why I'm so over the moon that I Am Not Gog has received this very thoughtful and glowing review from author J R R R Hardison:

"This was an odd, off-kilter, strange but moving read. I guess that’s to be expected from a book in which the protagonist starts off more than a little mad. I enjoyed the book and it kept me engaged and bemused until the last page.

Lydia Japhethson is a frumpy, middle-aged English woman. After a childhood marked by loss and scarring instances of bullying and abuse, followed by an adulthood of self-doubt, marginalization and the occasional breakdown, she feels a...

May 12, 2019

I'm not keen on people wearing too much slap. This is a personal preference purely about personal taste, not anything else. Make-up is morally neutral. I say this because there is a point in the story of I Am Not Gog where make-up is allegorically associated with truth, whereas some folk might rather associate make-up with a sort of dishonesty (making you appear different to how you truly are). I don't see it that way, and I'll explain why in a bit. I first need to introduce three minor characters to you, all with some meaning to their names, who in some way support or help Lydia: Pru, Verity, and Bronya.

The first, Pru the landlady, has a very straightforward meaning, even obvious. Her nam...

April 14, 2019

Here is an example of a boarded-up Edwardian terraced house in Grimsby, the likes of which served as a squat for Maggie and the Eriphions, where they held what Lydia calls their 'Mad-hatter's Tea Party'. To be fair, this party only went pear-shaped from Lydia's perspective, because everyone else in attendance drank magic-mushroom tea and were about to embark on an hallucinogenic trip. It probably went perfectly well for them.

In a wider shot you can see most of the houses here are boarded up. At the time this photograph was taken in 2006, only the one on the left and the white one, second from the end on the right, were occupied. Which of any of them might be 83 New Redlord Row, is up to you....

March 9, 2019


This scene came as a surprise to me very late on in the writing of I Am Not Gog, and it was great fun for me, at least. It comes at a time just prior to a great crisis in Lydia’s life. It foreshadows a moment of great vulnerability and fear for Lydia, when Karl makes his most sleazy and sneaky move on her.

It’s her birthday and she’s having breakfast when three contractors come in, Karl, Fred, and George. Karl introduces himself and tries to chat her up. In light of this blog's title, you might now suspect that these three represent Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Georg W F Hegel. They do.

Marx and Engels were students of Hegel, who, of course, formulated the Hegelian Dialectic. Simply p...

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This is a repository of insights about the novel I Am Not Gog (and future work). There will be new insights every month or so until we have a full library and nothing is left unexplored. If you came here to find out more about the allegory of the novel, start by clicking HERE.

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I Am Not Gog. A novel by Matthew James Hunt.

© 2015-2019 Matthew James Hunt. INKTAP Publishing