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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...

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...

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....

February 24, 2019

[Spoiler alert]

Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of I Am Not Gog’s publication. There are two churches in Lydia’s story. Four years after publishing it, I have only just realised myself that their two appearances in the novel both happen to separately precede events that lead to the death of innocent men, each of which in turn precipitates great upheaval in Lydia’s life. This was not done consciously, I’m sure. The two church scenes developed completely independent of each other. The story called for their existence and their natural place within it. As writer’s often say, writing fiction is sometimes like excavating dinosaur skeletons. You’re often discovering the story, rather than de...

November 18, 2018

I am proud to declare that I am the originator of what is probably the most obscure and impenetrable metaphor in the history of English literature. I wish it wasn’t so obscure, but it pretty much had to be what it is. In order to put it into context, I will first need to partly run through the allegorical themes of water and the wilderness that meander through the novel I Am Not Gog.

The two themes meet most intimately in Joshua’s poem in the Country Park. The wilderness allegory draws on the forty years the Biblical Israelites spent wandering in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. There were forty-two places visited by the Isrealites after their escape from Egypt. These are k...

October 14, 2018

If you look very closely at the lower left quadrant of this scene, you can see that the zoomed-in panel contains an actual image of a very minor character in I Am Not Gog: Ruth the pigeon.

Since Lydia’s sojourn in Grimsby thirteen years ago, Grimsby’s bus station has had a significant redesign. I knew the place was due an overhaul, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so half-arsed. As it is, they appear to have just removed the shelters and moved the line of stands perpendicular to where they were. They are now along the row of buildings at the end, leaving a big open space. Perhaps they use the space for something useful like a market or ribbon-dancing performances. If anyone knows, please co...

June 10, 2018

Here are a few photographs that I took during my research trip to Cleethorpes and Grimsby in 2006. I had no idea I’d be showing them to you now, so they are just snaps. I’m not a brilliant photographer.

This was the last of Lydia's three refuges, under the pier on Cleethorpes beach. Then, it was midnight and raining. From this angle, you'd be looking directly at her, face to face.

The next two photos are of her tiny guest-house room on Abraham's Road, where she dwelt for almost all of the rest of her time in Cleethorpes. The actual name of the road is 'Isaac's Road', but I needed to change it so that none of the Abrahamic faiths were either excluded or emphasised in relation to the allegory, t...

January 14, 2018

Write what you know, they say. I know the town where I grew up, so that was why Lydia’s story started in Hinckley. She had to travel somewhere else, though, and Alex had to come from somewhere else, so why did that somewhere else turn out to be Grimsby, about which I knew next to nothing at the time? I turned to the allegory to find it.

In conflating the two main allegorical themes of Ezekiel 38-39 and the Caucasus-gate fable of the Alexander Romances, I decided to draw a line on an atlas from Jerusalem to the middle of the Caucusus, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. This reflected Ezekiel’s prophecy that Gog of Magog would come from the north (from the perspective of the ancient I...

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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