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The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi Paperback – April 26, 2011
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"A captivating and wise book . . . The tale of the fated meeting, spiritual companionship, and tragic parting of [Rumi and Shams of Tabriz] is beautifully recounted in The Forty Rules of Love. . . . Shafak draws on facts from Rumi's and Sham's biographies and brings them to life with deft storytelling."
"A gorgeous, jeweled, luxurious book . . . The past and the present fit together beautifully in a passionate defense of passion itself."
--The Times (London)
"In this appealing fable, Turkish author Elif Shafak toggles between characters from different times: a modern American housewife and a thirteenth-century poet. . . . The universal theme is struggle between the rational mind and the aching heart. Shafak's heroine yields to the latter and never looks back."
About the Author
Eli Shafak is an award-winning, bestselling novelist; a champion of women's rights and freedom of expression; and the most widely read female novelist in Turkey. Her books have been translated into more than forty languages. Her novels include The Flea Palace, The Saint of Incipient Insanities, The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, and The Architect's Apprentice. An active political commentator, columnist, and public speaker, she lives in London and Istanbul with her family.
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It's one of those brilliant books, where you want to highlight every second sentence, because it so eloquently describes all forms of the human experience.
Elif Shafak is a brilliant writer and this, in my opinion, is by far her best work.
Two parallel stories unfold for the reader and the way Shafak inter-twines them is brilliant. That said, the tale of Rumi and Shams could have been told thoroughly and well without having included the story of Ella. Yet, with its inclusion, it may attract some readers who would not necessarily be drawn to the more substantial tale of Rumi and Shams; thereby serving to educate.
The essence of this book is the story of Rumi and Shams, and the ‘rules of love.’ Both Shams and Rumi are passionately drawn to intimacy with God, Love, Oneness; Truth, and the remembrance that everything is God. Shafak sharply captures the colors, smells, sights, sounds, and essence of the characters and times surrounding Rumi and Shams in 13th century, Turkey. Uniquely, each chapter is told from the vantage point of the principle character apparent in the chapter title, thus allowing the reader/observer a ring-side and intimate seat into the thinking of that individual. This certainly adds intrigue.
The story of Shams and Rumi is carried out deftly, and the rules of love, such as, “When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer; but when a wine bibber goes in, it becomes his tavern.” So it is that the author speaks truisms, as she sees them, and also feeds the imagination.
I would like to believe that this is an historical treatment, mostly, of Rumi and Shams. Certainly, we do not have the cast of key individuals to ask, but this book certainly rests upon some historical research.
The story of Ella a 40 year old wife and mother, who becomes increasingly involved with the writer, Aziz, whose narrative of Shams and Rumi, she has been hired to review, is a kind of mildly interesting, if not so believable, novelette. On the plus side for it are ‘the rules of love’ and reflections that foster insight. And although I would not use the character of Ella as a model for life, I can see her as the fictional character she ‘is’ and can see what it is that she chooses that would suit, or not suit my particular life. Therein is the power of this piece for me.
I am the author of the memoir, 'Braving Time' published in 2012, by Balboa Press
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One must go back and forth to tackle all differrent stories and characters.Read more