The Forty Rules of Love

The Forty Rules of Love

eBook - 2010
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Penguin Putnam

In this lyrical, exuberant follow-up to her 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.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2010
ISBN: 9781101189948
Branch Call Number: eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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This novel, by the acclaimed Turkish author, unfolds very different and parallel stories, set in different centuries and different countries. Ella, a forty-year-old American, unhappily married, and mother of three, take a job as a reviewer for a literary agent. Her first assignment is to report on a novel by Aziz Zahara called ‘Sweet Blasphemy.’ Ella is mesmerized by the story and takes its ancient middle eastern philosophy as guidance to seek her own transformation. At first, I was worried that this book might be a sappy romance, but it was not like that at all! The narrative was beautiful and lyrical. Worth reading – and I’m so glad that I took a chance on it – I loved it! (submitted by IM)

Apr 17, 2018

it was hard to keep reading due to very opposite settings of two stories one is from modern world and the other one very old times. still I enjoyed some great wisdom and passionate love in both stories, especially the letter from Aziz to Ella on her fortieth Birthday.. great words of wisdom.

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.

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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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