Sunday, April 11, 2010

51 - The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi; Elif Shafak

 

The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi is a very different story in which parallel stories, set in different centuries and different countries are told.

Ella Rubenstein is a 40 year old American housewife who is in a marital rut. Married for 20 years, she has a husband who may be unfaithful, three children she runs from place to place, and she longs for something more.  Ella accepts a job as a reader for a literary agent, and her first assignment is to read and review an unsolicited manuscript called: Sweet Blasphemy.  As she begins her assignment written by a man named Aziz Zahara, she is immediately drawn into the story.  It is a story about a world famous poet and Sufi mystic, Rumi, who like Ella struggles with feeling of emptiness and loneliness in his life.  In this story Rumi's world is transformed when he meets a whirling dervish known as Shams of Tabritz. 

The "forty rules of love" are both timeless and beautifully expressed, so much so, that they begin to deeply effect Ella. Soon she emails the author and they begin a  correspondence.  She is so taken by what she has read that she begins to wonder if Aziz might be the secret to her happiness, as the Shams of Tabritz was to Rumi in the story.

MY THOUGHTS - This was my first book by this author, but now I am anxious to read her earlier book : The Bastard of Istanbul. I really loved the audio version of this novel. It was read by Laural Merlington who did a terrific job.  At first, I was worried that this story might be a sappy romance, but that was not the case at all.  The writing was beautiful and lyrical.  If I had one small complaint it would be  the fact that the author used the word dervish ad nauseam.  Seriously, after what seemed like the hundredth time, I started to get a little annoyed. Please don't let this minor complaint discourage you, because it truly is a special book.  It's just the type of story that may have the power to transform your life in some small way.  
RECOMMENDED - (4.5/5 stars) - Library audio book

19 comments:

  1. The book sounds fantastic even with all those dervishes!

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  2. This sounds terrific even if it puts you in "dervish" overload. :-) It sounds unlike anything I've read.

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  3. That is odd about overusing the word 'dervish'. But it sounds like a great book, regardless. Thanks for your terrific review!

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  4. Thanks for the review. I think I just found another book to add to me 'books to read' list. Haha, it's quite long. :)

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  5. I like the sound of this book even if it has small thing about dervishes! I will definitely look for it. :)

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  6. A friend of mine read this one too and, though she wasn't sure at first, she really liked it in the end.

    Great review!

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  7. The storyline sounds wonderful. Thanks for the review.

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  8. Sounds super - what an inteesting collection of book syou do read!

    Thanks for sharing

    Hannah

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  9. I loved it, too...and the overuse of dervish isn't so obvious in the print version.

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  10. I hadn't yet heard of this book, but it sounds wonderful! I think I would love this story but will be on the lookout for the dervishes and try not to be too annoyed! Great review! I am glad you liked the book!

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  11. This is the second rave review I've read of this book tonight ... I think it is going on the list.

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  12. Okay--you and Jill both gave this a thumbs up. Two thumbs up is good enough to add it to the wish list.

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  13. This book sounds amazing. I'll b sure to pick it up. Thanks for featuring it!

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  14. This looks great. Isn't it funny how once you notice something like a repeated word it gains annoyance with every usage?

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  15. I love the sound of this as well. Thanks for writing about it, I hadn't heard of it but am going to look out for it now..

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  16. I picked this book up at the library on a whim and am glad I did! I can't put it down! I am a frequent reader of books about mysticism and also novels and it is fun to find a book that combines both genres! I will definitely be looking into her earlier books.
    And the frequent use of "dervish" doesn't bother me in the least.

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  17. The Forty Rules of Love is not just about a housewife encountering love, but truly understanding what love is.

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