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The Forty Rules of Love: Book summary and reviews of The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

The Forty Rules of Love

A Novel of Rumi

by Elif Shafak

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak X
The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
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  • Published Feb 2010
    368 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

In this lyrical, exuberant follow-up to her 2007 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Shafak’s seductive, shrewd, and affecting novel brilliantly revives the revelations of Shams and Rumi, and daringly illuminates the differences between religion and spirituality, censure and compassion, fear and love of life in our own violent world." - Booklist "This novel, a best seller in Turkey, may appeal to fans of Nicholas Sparks or Robert James Waller." - Library Journal

"Celebrated Turkish novelist Shafak serves up a curious blend of mediocre hen lit and epic historical to underwhelming results." - Publishers Weekly

"Shafak should have dropped Ella's story, with its preachy spiritual ruminations, and stuck to Rumi's odyssey, which opens a window into a world Westerners know little about." - Kirkus Reviews

"[An} appealing fable ... The universal theme is the struggle between the rational mind and the aching heart. Shafak’s heroine yields to the latter and never looks back." - More Magazine (more.com)

This information about The Forty Rules of Love was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Sulla

Best book ever
This is my favorite book, and the best book I've ever read.

Muhtasim Turno

"Forty Rules of love" my review
I was surprised to have such an polished level of writing from a female writer. Much love to Shafak who made this book a historical as well as a literary piece. I don't know how the theology works but way of shams were demonstrating those practically. I guess there a little amount of fiction in the story which has made the novel more attractive and inevitable. I don't know what should be the standard of a literary piece, but if someone asks me I would definitely tell him to have look on this masterpiece.

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Author Information

Elif Shafak Author Biography

Photo: Ebru Bilun

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She has published 19 books, 12 of which are novels, including her latest The Island of Missing Trees. She is a bestselling author in many countries around the world and her work has been translated into 55 languages. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize; and was Blackwell's Book of the Year. The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among the 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. The Architect's Apprentice was chosen for the Duchess of Cornwall's inaugural book club, The Reading Room. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary ...

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Name Pronunciation
Elif Shafak: El-liff Sha-fahk

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