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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...

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...

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...

January 13, 2019

There are two particularly cruel scenes in the novel I Am Not Gog, and the second of them is also quite distasteful. I’m sorry about that, but they were both important to the story and partly based on real events.

The first involves a couple of nasty girls at school: Madie and Tates, the two bullies who set about ripping young Lydia’s false fingernails off. Their names are simple anagrams of two English words. If you want to cheat and see what they are anagrams of, I’ve put the solutions after the space at the bottom of this blog.

As ghastly as the scene is, it actually happened to the real-life person who inspired the character of Lydia. I used to work at one of the social projects she freq...

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...

December 10, 2017

The image here was the first, rudimentary sketch of Lydia by Su Koh. It is nicely loaded with ambiguity and foreboding. Ambiguity of identity is central to the whole novel. This is conveyed in the name of I Am Not Gog’s protagonist, Lydia Japhethson.

There has been much speculation as to who the original Gog of Magog were and where their homeland was. I found the most commonly accepted location was somewhere in western Asia Minor, or stone age Anatolia, as it then was. At the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy about Gog of Magog, it had long been the empire of Lydia, which lasted 1200–546 BC. Ezekiel lived 622–570 BC.

It’s important to bear in mind that a tribe (or two) coming from the Lydian empi...

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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