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Book Review: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak




Ella Rubinstein is a 40 year old stay-at-home mother and wife with a beautiful home, 3 children and a prosperous husband. Outwardly, Ella has everything one could wish for, despite which she still feels an unnamed sense of discontent.
Agreeing to a part time job as a reader to a literary agent, Ella’s first assignment is to read a debut novel by an author called, Aziz Z Zahara.
The novel, titled Sweet Blasphemy, is set in the 13th century Anatolia and Ella finds herself reading about the fabled poet Rumi, whose life and views were transformed by the whirling dervish Shams of Tabriz and his forty rules of love and life.  Both characters so diverse from each other that only a miracle could have brought them together.
Along with Ella we discover Rumi and Shams, and the journey of their friendship and love, peppered with Shams Forty Rules and various characters, all diverse from the other, who come together to form a tapestry that reveals itself in the end, leaving you overwhelmed at the beauty of it.
As Ella’s reading of Sweet Blasphemy progress, she starts an email correspondence with the author. What begins with innocent emails soon turn into intimate exchanges, deepening Ella and Aziz’s bond.
Much like love, this book is many layered and requires patience and acceptance to be understood. Much like love, it will make you smile and bring tears to your eyes. Much like love, it will also be understood and interpreted differently. Much like love, it will simplify itself when you stop trying to understand it. Much like love, it will show you facets of yourself you never imagined you possessed. Much like love, you will realise every lesson comes for a price. Much like love, it will leave you humbled. Much like love, reading The Forty Rules of Love was a spiritual experience. One that can only be felt and one that must be felt.



P:S: The Forty Rules of Love wasn’t an easy book to read. I lost patience many times during the first 60 pages and also set it aside. But friends who have enjoyed reading it asked me to be patient and read on. And I am glad I did.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

  1. I have heard about the book. Sounds a good premise and then the various perspectives must make it unique. You are right that some books need more patience to go on reading.

  2. I have read some great reviews about this book and your review has sealed it for me. Have added in my TBR list. Yes, some books are pretty difficult to hold my interest in the beginning, but then I slowly warm up to them. The feeling of glad that I persisted is what I like the most!

  3. Hey Mayuri
    I am not a book review person , coz I feel these posts are more about the book than about how the book made you feel. This by far the best , most well balanced and quite an interesting take on a book coz it was so much about YOU! the reader , the person.
    How you could relate to the book and the idea of love. That whole last paragraph is like a painting in words. its so beautiful the way you've equated the idea of love – as you understand it .
    You made me want to pick up the book and read it , inspite of the well meaning disclaimer of how it needs dollops of patience. But as Rumi would say – 'dont you know it yet , its your light that lights the world' I guess the same applies to book reviews too.

    Two thumbs up and 5 stars to your post 🙂

    -Chandni | Chandnimoudgil.com

  4. This is my fav reads of this year and I am so glad I read this book; its meant to be read slowly. Savoured is the correct word, for it has layers and layers which need understanding and patience. I was totally enthralled by it and RUMI – was a revelation to me through this book.
    I would recommend everyone to read it once – its quite and enlightening book.
    Your review is spot on and took me right back to it – thanks so much

  5. Love outside marriage even if virtual brings questions,whose answers are very difficult.
    Love is a really difficult emotion to define by rules.Even more difficult is marriage.I dont know whether I can read a book like this,some books can worry me too much.That makes my hubby worried.I think that may be love too.At the end of the day we all want love.I think you weere troubled as you read the book.Though you have written a very nice review,it somehow reflects your anguish .I wonder if I may be hallucinating:)

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