- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; Latest Edition edition (2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780241972939
- ISBN-13: 978-0241972939
- ASIN: 0241972930
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Customer Reviews: 1,937 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Forty Rules of Love Paperback – 1 January 2015
|Paperback, 1 January 2015||
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Shafak will challenge Paulo Coelho's dominance. With its timely, thought-provoking message . . . The Forty Rules of Love deserves to be a global publishing phenomenon, Independent
Enlightening, enthralling. An affecting paean to faith and love, Metro
Colourfully woven and beguilingly intelligent, Daily Telegraph
The past and present fit together beautifully in a passionate defence of passion itself, The Times
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Go ahead,get this masterpiece and thank me later.😊
Then all of a sudden, I was past mid-way into the story and I realised I had spent close to a month with the book, which in itself was a first. And just like that, the story became a reflection and an introspection - a pause to consider what these different rules of love meant to me. The story line in itself was lovely and complete in the various facets of observation - looking through the lens and inside the thoughts of the various characters was very liberating - and insightful.
What really drew me in was not the forty rules of love, but the sudden realisation that like Ella, I too had embarked on this year with an intention and instinct that this, my fortieth, was holding the promise and potential of major change. I could relate to Ella and her emotions at many times - and it was quite the coincidence and my son is also named Avi.
It was freeing to notice the patriarchy of spiritual pursuits in an ancient age and how the author has allowed both Rumi and Shams to dip into the idea of equal opportunity as well as explore the potential of social limitations of their time.
I found myself empathising with Ella's notion of love and marriage, holding my own relationships as a benchmark, and at the same time wondering if I were as hardened as her - knowing that I was not, yet allowing enough space to question, "Are you holding something back? What is stopping you?" In particular, her heart spoken, "deep inside she longed for love." really pulled at my heart strings.
The rules explored in this book and the narratives leading to it (along with the parables interspersed) are a good guide for those who find mystic sufism of interest - more so, if you have a philosophical tangent to spirituality and don't yet realise that it is a sufi trait. Yet, with love woven into every nook and corner, I found myself really <i>not getting</i> the Shams-Rumi love in totality. I could sense it and then it fell away as I couldn't always accept them putting their love above and beyond those around them.
Or perhaps it is because I still am on the 'spiritual' vibration of a lesser kind of love :) Something that is still working on the relational level and hoping to edge towards the madness of divine spiritual love and oneness.
Deep - too deep even for me today.
Kimya ... my heart bled for her. I couldn't understand it. It brought up all those ideals of pain where the woman is left yearning in the throes of unrequited love and I was angry at Shams for even accepting it. What good is his realisation of his mistake in marrying her, if he was going to let her die. He was so intuitive about everyone including the man who was hiding there waiting to kill him, but he couldn't sense the needs of his wife. No, I hated him then - and his chauvinist (for lack of a better word) focus on his 'oneness' bit. harumph!
But yet, I smiled at his explanation to Kimya of the Al-Nisa verse and his sharing of the alternative perspective of male superiority. It was impressive - the context of manhood and womanhood versus men and women - or even masculine and feminine, for that matter. Perhaps it just sheds a little more light on what we consider these gender stereotypes today. Or is it because the author is a woman and she brings a contemporary feminine yearning to the table?
I loved the book - I loved how it made me feel. I loved how I chose to read it in preparation for my fortieth this month. I love how I ended it in my birthday month with a feeling of grounding that this just might be that turning point of age and mystic symbolism, the number 40, that the author has amplified throughout the book.
Looking forward to the year ahead. This one was a good spring-board.
Some very deep feminist thoughts are voiced by the writer. Elif Shafaq, the author finds justification for Ella (a representative of woman in the present world) in Rumi’s relationship where he is forced to question and then abandon safety, security and reputation of his life for the uncertainty.
Though the novel takes the populist approach than scholarly one it is successful in introducing the easily assimilable thoughts of Sufism to all.
She did not give enough focus on seven valleys which actually describe Sufis as the People of Path.
The other point is that the author could not separate herself from the Characters. This art is really rare which I very easily find in my favourite Shakespeare. So all the characters use the same vocabulary and the thoughts which the writer wants them to speak. But as far as biographical part of Shams and Rumi is concerned, the author tried to be as close to the historical facts as was possible. She could hear their voice and understand their legacy. The Sufi vocabulary is well described and explained. However, the forty rules are important .
A peace, a calmness that had started to wrap around my heart. After so much franctically dealing with my problems, my anxiety had become pervasive, it was starting to affect my family too. Such an aura exuded into me when I flipped through the pages, that I stopped searching for peace, because I had finally got it. At times, I felt as if those teachings were meant specially for me. I am very grateful for this book and for the author, that she wrote such a wonderful book.
I was underwhelmed by Shafak's writing though the writing got me interested in exploring further about the Sufi culture and Rumi's poetry.
Top international reviews
Having been extrememly disappointed with The Alchemist, I can honestly say I was blown away by the plethora of messages in The Forty Rules of Love! So much so that once I had finished reading it I immediately went back to the beginning to re-read it, which I have never done with any other book. If you are soul-searching, looking for answers, then you simply have to read this book!
Ella is a housewife living in the suburbs of Massachusetts living a seemingly perfect, but a loveless life with a cheating husband and no identity of her own. She gets a chance to break her monotony the she gets a chance to review a manuscript, “Sweet Blasphemy”, written by a maverick sufi, Aziz Zahara based one the teachings on Shams of Tabriz and his companionship with the celebrated poet, Rumi. Sham’s and Rumi’s story, “Sweet Blasphemy”, runs in parallel to that of Ella and Aziz. Ella begins correspondence with the writer of the book and he makes her realise what she has always been missing in her life; love and the ability to live in the present without the fear of the future. But will this realisation liberate her, or completely shake the foundations of her world; just as what happened with Rumi when he met Shams.
This book is essentially about love. And by love, Shams didn’t mean just the love between a man and a woman. It’s the love that surrounds us which could be in any form; the love of man for God or the love of man for self. Life would be meaningless without love. I really liked how the author included the teachings of Shams in the narrative; it is evident from the title that the book is about his forty rules; but the way it has been included in the narrative is a masterpiece of writing. What is also beautiful is the relationships in the book; that of Rumi and Shams and also Ella and Aziz. They are bound by ties of love that doesn’t need a definition. The author’s masterstroke was to include the story of Shams and Rumi from different perspectives; from that of a begger to that of a prostitute.
This book has a lot of elements of Sufi philosophy; so it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But the message of the book is universal and hence appealing.
The novel was written in a clever mixture of multi- voices and a third person's voice, with oscillating jumps back and fro in time. The result is a lean crisp narrative that grips you to the lat word. And there you wish that there was more.
I shall certainly read it again.
Half way through the book