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Book Review & Quotes | Acts of God by Kanan Gill

To all my book friends,

I recently finished reading Acts of God by Kanan Gill, and wow, it was quite the journey! This book isn’t your typical sci-fi adventure—it’s a deep dive into philosophical musings that made me pause, reflect, and question the very fabric of life.

Let’s start with my favorite part: the storage instructions. I know, it sounds mundane, but Kanan Gill’s whimsical take on how to cherish and store a book left me smiling and nodding in agreement. He writes,

“Or, if you’d rather love, then love this book with all your might, trace your fingertips gently over its jacket, literally, digitally and spiritually.

Take this book on a world tour, hurl it from a train window, spring its pages like a flip book and smell that strange book smell that comes from the salty mix of ink and sweat and paper – the bouquet of a story? Is it the smell of acceptance, rejection, writing-rewriting, editing, fretting, forgetting? Is it the smell of your own soul? Or perhaps the funky odour of a good book gone bad. Have you left this novel unread for too long and its contents have now soured? Or are they sulking? Have the words gathered in hard-to-read corners, demanding to be teased out? Best to junk it then. Stories past their expiry date cause indigestion, nervousness and the rapid precipitation of strong opinions.

Best to keep it back where you picked it up.”

Kanan Gill’s humor also shines through, especially in the preface where he writes, “Prefaces are for cowards who like to present lengthy caveats to offset criticism, like poets with more preamble than poem. The author submits that he is a coward and takes great pleasure in your displeasure.” It’s these little touches of humor that make the heavy philosophical content feel more accessible and relatable.

Now, let’s get into the heart of the book—the philosophical quotes that resonated with me deeply. Here are a few that stood out:


The establishment of the no-pain-no-gain orthodoxy ensured the integration of pain into the capitalist ethic, whereas some other economic structures just ended up with no gain and only pain.

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


In this insidious way, pain writes itself into our lives. As a necessity, as a backlight through which we see our outline. Pain shows us our shape, pain defines us and our extremities – how much can you take, how much will you give?

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


That internal emotions have an external component, a little facial signboard, a sentimental turn indicator, is evidence enough that emotions are designed to be shared. Why would they love broadcasting themselves otherwise? But this wasn’t the time, and these weren’t the times. Everyone kept blankly to themselves, allegedly the highest form of social order. Mind your own business, even if it trembled out of your fingers, even if it leaked out of your tear ducts and especially if it soiled your trousers.

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


And all the imaginary situations you brew, in which people say horrible things to you – these are simulations too. So is the wish for wonderful things, the swimming shadows of delicate dreams falling always further down the hall. In that respect, every person runs a simulation of the future in their minds. Anxiety and hope are simulations bundled free with the human experience. The reason for these simulations is unknown and widely held to be not worth the trouble.

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


Human suffering, feelings so common they are confused with personality: anger, hurt, anxiety, jealousy, loneliness, disappointment, which play in an orchestra as old as humanity, the sonata of pointlessness.

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


What is worse torture than being an artist severed from art, from the capacity for art, left with only predilection and no outlet, with perseverance but no purpose, with the phone number for creativity but no phone, with choice but no—

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


Do you want to intravenously inject your thoughts into my veins? Were not even the same blood type. I could die. Do you want to kill me? People die by impaling themselves on the point of things. I would much prefer it if there was no point. Why do you want to sharpen all your experiences to narrow at the tip? I owe all my success to never wondering what the point of what I was doing was?

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


The tendency to think of one’s life as a story was a neurological fallacy. To put yourself as the protagonist of a tale introduces an audience to play to, staples hope into the scheme of things and comes with notions of how you should be treated. You begin to think of yourself in an uplifting comedy or a gloomy tragedy and regard all experiences as being scenes to either reveal more about your character or advance the plot.

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


Mythology is made to make sense of human sentiment, to offer relief from present suffering.

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


Those with the least imagination and most suffering dream only of the end. Relief, freedom, retribution, comfort, all things that the unspirited cannot fathom in life, all the wonder they cannot conjure they hope for after death. We will avoid the excursion into what would be the right way to live life for the spirited and imaginative, but I will offer this brief dogma: When confronted with something stupid, it is usually safe to do the opposite.

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


Where do ideas come from? The raw material can be found in history, the proclivity in chemistry, the technique in practice, but those are manufacturing details, those are assembly instructions. The idea, the map that draws the dotted lines and numbered steps, the push behind it all, the impetus for impetus – from where does that appear?

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God


What is the exact point at which a friendship is established? First sight’s exclusive rights have been obtained by love, and that is fair. Love is sudden, spontaneous, combustible and glamorous. It steals the spotlight and muscles its way to the front of imagination and art. And why not? It comes with a cardiovascular component, it races the pulse, it aches the heart, it hogs up blood. It triggers the fight-or-love-or-flight response. Love is immediate; friendship takes time. The world is full of love without friendship; there is no friendship without love.

– Kanan Gill, Acts of God

Reading Acts of God was like having a deep, introspective conversation. There were moments that made me laugh, moments that brought tears to my eyes, and many that made me think about life in new ways. Especially the parts about death—those were tough, and I found myself crying at the sheer rawness of it all.

One quote that really struck me was, “The tendency to think of one’s life as a story was a neurological fallacy.” It’s true, we often script our lives as if we’re the protagonist in a grand narrative, but life is so much more complex and unscripted. Kanan Gill’s writing felt very relatable, and even though I’m not a sci-fi fan, I found myself completely absorbed by the philosophical depth of this book. It’s now one of my favorites, not for the plot, but for the way it made me think and feel.

If you love to pinpoint yourself into seeking deeper meaning in life, I highly recommend Acts of God. It’s a book that challenges you, and most importantly, makes you think.

Until next time,


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