The Forty Rules of Love

The Forty Rules of Love

[a Novel of Rumi]

Book - 2010
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Penguin Putnam

Listen to Elif Shafak's The Forty Rules of Love reviewed on NPR

In this lyrical, exuberant follow-up to her 2007 novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak unfolds two tantalizing parallel narratives—one contemporary and the other set in the thirteenth century, when Rumi encountered his spiritual mentor, the whirling dervish known as Shams of Tabriz—that together incarnate the poet's timeless message of love.

Ella Rubenstein is forty years old and unhappily married when she takes a job as a reader for a literary agent. Her first assignment is to read and report on Sweet Blasphemy, a novel written by a man named Aziz Zahara. Ella is mesmerized by his tale of Shams's search for Rumi and the dervish's role in transforming the successful but unhappy cleric into a committed mystic, passionate poet, and advocate of love. She is also taken with Shams's lessons, or rules, that offer insight into an ancient philosophy based on the unity of all people and religions, and the presence of love in each and every one of us. As she reads on, she realizes that Rumi's story mir­rors her own and that Zahara—like Shams—has come to set her free.

Baker & Taylor
A follow-up to The Bastard of Istanbul traces the parallel stories of unhappily married professional reader Elle Rubenstein's fascination with the story of Shams of Tabriz and the 13th-century transformation of Rumi into a mystic and poet.

& Taylor

Traces the parallel stories of unhappily married professional reader Ella Rubinstein's fascination with the story of Shams of Tabriz and the 13th-century transformation of Rumi into a mystic and poet.

Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Viking, 2010
ISBN: 9780670021451
Characteristics: 354, [1] p. ; 24 cm


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Oct 28, 2017

An interesting book, however, it is a bit strange that in her book, Elif neither says anything about the Iranian origin of both Rumi and Shams nor anything about the fact that all Rumi's poetry were written in Persian (Iranian language) and in not Turkish (Rumi had to flee to Konya because of the Chengis Khan's attack to Perisa at that time).

Dec 16, 2016

This is a very innovative novel. The character of the wandering dervish is particularly compelling and the book communicates its messages of love and living in the present very well.

Nov 25, 2015

Such an amazing book. The characters are so colorful and rich, it is extremely well written, and is entertaining: you'll never want to put it down! It's reflective and sensitive, yet powerful.

Jun 11, 2015

On a business visit in India, I walked into my favorite bookstore in Mumbai and was browsing for Rumi's poetry. The owner highly recommended this book and I was enthralled by the parallel narrative drawing on the relationship between Rumi and Shams Tabrezi. A must read. I have shared it with 4 friends (various cultural backgrounds) all of whom have loved it.

Oct 03, 2014

I picked this book because its title attracted me, only to realize after the first few chapters that the book content introduces itself through a story inside the cover story, which is the main message of the author: Elif Shafak (the author) is glorifying a devious culture and presenting it as peaceful and loving. This is how people get fooled, when only half the truth is said.
It's a shame that my tax dollars are covering such a book.

A fictionalized account of the friendship between wandering Dervish, Shams of Tabriz, and the famous 13th century Sufi poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, better known simply as ‘Rumi’. Rumi’s friendship with Shams played a huge role in his development as a poet and mystic. This is a story about love, about finding your true self and about mysticism. The story is filled with Rumi’s quotes and poems that beautifully illuminate the seekers path, timeless. Wonderfully written.

Jul 18, 2013

The book reads to you, as you unfold every page & every rule!

Absolutely amazing, love it!

May 08, 2013

This is a novel which transcends Centuries. An imaginative novel where Shafak has spun ancient mysticism and spirituality into an intriguing novel with vivid characters. Ella, a middle-aged American woman, innocently accepts a job to read and review a novel by Aziz. This little action causes a huge impact on her life - like a rock thrown into a lake.

The story is interspersed with little nuggets of wisdom based on Sufiism and most readers will read and re-read the Forty Rules of love and agree with them.

Sep 30, 2012

A novel about a modern day housewife who is seeking a new level of spiritual awareness.
Two parallel plots, one modern and one ancient are deeply intertwined.. The writing style of this book makes it both challenging, interesting and sometimes frustrating to read. It is told from the perspectives of many different characters, sometimes in first person and sometimes in third. Add this to the constant shifting back and forth between past and present and you get a book that challenges the reader to re-adjust his/her prespective every few pages. In some ways it keeps the story in motion and keeps the reader engaged. On the other hand, I found it was a bit cluttered. There were too many characters with too many opinions. I was far more interested in the progression of certain characters over others . Overall, it was an interesting, well thought out book.

Sep 09, 2012

Absolutely amazing book.

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Barbara5060 Apr 25, 2012

middle aged woman who has always done the expected, suddenly finds herself passionately caught up in a novel written about Rumi; novel excerpts interspersed. Loved it!


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