“Believe in your values and your rules, but never Lord them over others.”

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 354

Published: 1st March 2009

Rate: 4 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

My Take

Oh how I love this book. I happened to pick up The Forty Rules of Love at a point where I consider right time and I believe, besides Elif Shafak’s beautiful writing, it’s why I enjoyed it much.

The Forty Rules of Love is a book that is written in two parallel narratives, 13th C and the present which gives the reader a different perspective of the same subject matter in both time periods. Elif Shafak writes lyrically, with so much care and tenderness that reading the book felt like a conversation with a big sister.

“Because of him I learned the value of madness and have come to know the taste of loneliness, helplessness, slander, seclusion, and, finally, heartbreak.”

Elif Shafak in this book explores love, and how we are lacking it in our lives, friendship and relationship with God. Reading through the rules that tie in as lessons and structure the plot of the book, I found myself taking breaks in between for moments of introspection. Reading this book left me tender in the best way possible.

I loved the realness of the characters. Once who go through everyday life with everyday problems and seeing them navigate these things was interesting to read.

The Forty Rules of Love is a book within a book, which I absolutely love and enjoyed. One that I highly recommend and hope more people read.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?