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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

September 16, 2018

The Trolley Collector. The man with no name. The Everyman. The people of the world. You, me, or anyone caught up in somebody else’s war. He did have a name, originally. The real-life man that his character was based upon was called Alec. He was a regular service-user at a project for people with mental health or homelessness problems where I used to work. He was tough-looking, but softly spoken; cagey, but gentle-mannered; unforthcoming and inscrutable, but entirely inoffensive. Why I would have a dream about him being held hostage by another, female service-user at the point of a gun, I don’t know.

But that dream was the germ of the novel I Am Not Gog. That was the odd situation that I had t...

July 6, 2018

These three characters are to do with another word beginning with 'p': perception – the enabling of it, the lack of it, and the distortion of it.

All the names of characters that are given in I Am Not Gog mean something pertinent to their role in the story or the allegorical scheme. I’ve looked at almost all of the main characters’ names, now I’m turning to some of the minor characters, three of varying importance.

The first is Ruth the pigeon. It is Hebraic for ‘friend’. This particular bird is a creature that has unwittingly done Lydia a favour by drawing her attention to the builder’s sign on the scaffold, giving her Power’s telephone number. Lydia's perception and understanding of her...

April 8, 2018

Lydia’s busybody social worker, Sofie Duluti, is a minor character with probably the most complex name in the novel. It is first an anagram. I won’t spoil it by openly giving you the solution up front, but I've hidden it right at the bottom of this blog page should you want to check if your solution is right.

It is second a marriage of two disparate concepts, which delivers a whole sense that supports the anagram and what the social worker represents. This happened to be largely serendipitous, because the anagram came first and I then went looking to see what the components might accidentally mean, to make sure there wasn't any conflict with the intended meaning. That serendipity was itself...

March 11, 2018

This is the expensive Italian pipe stolen by the Brighton pickpocket who was subsequently the main source of inspiration for the physicality and personality of Maggie in I Am Not Gog. It was on our anniversary and we had decided to treat ourselves to a stay at the Hilton Metropole hotel. We’d had a nice night out and were walking back to the Hotel very merrily indeed. I was smoking a different pipe, which gave the pickpocket, who was coming the other way, a conversational ‘in’ by her chirpily asking me why I smoked them. I explained that I wanted to avoid the chemicals they put in cigarettes and mass-marketed tobaccos. She laughed at my drunken earnestness and gave me a hug, during which she...

February 4, 2018

In real life, I witnessed him begin the slow process of death by many mini-strokes. In the novel, he represents Moses’ right-hand man.



His name is a direct reference to Joshua of the Old Testament, the man who led the Israelites into the Promised Land after forty years wandering in the wilderness. That man was known as Joshua, son of Nun. The Hebrew name ‘Nun’ means either ‘fish’ or a type of fish. I simply modernised and translated it to Joshua Fish.



As a contemporary friend of Lydia, he tells her about his unusual childhood, raised by an old guy acting as an informally adoptive guardian. That unnamed fellow, who we learn used to ‘lay down the law a bit’, is a reference to Moses, to whom...

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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