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 past become greatly enhanced as a consequence of finding that number. She rarely gets a favour done for her from someone who isn’t paid to, so she regards anyone or anything that does as a friend. Ruth.
Second is Father Dallan. Dallan is Irish for the word ‘blind’. It is genuinely used as a first name in Ireland, which is astonishing. I can't imagine it's very common. What I was getting at in the story is simply that Father Dallan is ‘the blind leading the blind’, but only in the sense of the priest being unable to see the true nature of Power’s Building Services, the injustice of Lydia’s predicament, and the impending danger. At that point, Lydia is fairly blind too.
The third (absent) character here is the seventies pop-star, Leif Asterlay. This name is nearly as complex as Sofie Duluti. Like that name, it is first an anagram of a two word phrase. If you can’t solve it, or want to check if your solution is correct, then you can scroll past the empty space to the bottom of this blog page, where I have given the solution to the anagram. It relates to what she feels he was complicit in: propagating an illusory world-view.
The name is secondly a composite of three words that together give a related concept. ‘Leif’ is a Scandinavian boy’s name for ‘son’ or ‘descendant’. ‘Aster’ is ancient Greek for ‘star’ (from which the genus of flowering plants gets its name). A ‘Lay’ is a short ballad. The word comes from Middle English. So, together, you could read the name as ‘Heir of the star song’, or ‘one in the long lineage of celebrity pop-singers’.
Those who share my age range might recall that there was a heart-throb pop star called Leif Garrett who was popular in the seventies, so the first name may hold some resonance for them. I’m certainly not associating Garrett with Leif Asterlay beyond them sharing a first name, though. I actually had a different pop star in mind when I first envisioned the opening bath-scene. The songs Lydia describes in that scene are real songs by him. I couldn’t name the pop star or his songs in the book, for fear of getting sued. In this way, the reader's perception remains partially occluded also. Sorry about that, but I do reveal all about the real pop star, the songs, and many more songs that inspired the writing of the novel on another blog here. Remember to scroll down this page for the anagram's solution before you go...
The name Leif Asterlay is an anagram for ‘false reality’.