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4.5 out of 5 stars207
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 18 April 2013
I really liked this book - it delivers a great read with interesting themes, dabbles in spirituality and offers some deeper musings about life that we all need to think about. It is not a great academic read or a book that will shake you to your bones to deeper understanding of life's journey. I was rather perplexed that it has received so much publicity and like those Hollywood blockbusters - you hear so much hype about them that by the time you sit in front of them you are expecting to be transported to another realm and sadly it never happens. The author has received too much publicity and hype from her publishing house and this DOES impact on the reading of the book - it somehow shreds the innocence away from it. Saying that, I still enjoyed the 'journey' and the lessons within and recommend it as a book. I must say though that the publisher 'Penguin Books' has delivered 100% the wrong cover for this book and already introduces the wrong message to the reader (superficial). Also the FONT of printing is ridiculously small - I have to mention it as even with glasses my eyes were straining - I cannot understand why the publisher make a font that is ONE MILLIMETRE tall and light black; whoever was responsible for those two decisions made a mistake.
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on 15 October 2015
Time and time again I find myself being drawn back to this book. I've lost count of the amount of times I've read it.

On my first reading of this book, I found I could draw great solace from the words of Rumi and Shams as described by Ella Shafak. This book did truly change my life. It inspired me to start my journey to finding inner peace and taking a step back from the superficial needs of life. It also sparked my interest in Rumi, his life and the teachings of Sufi'ism.

Elif Shafak truly has the ability to transport you seamlessly across, not only frontiers but also eras through highlighting similarities and age old truths which will forever be timeless. The journey of love, peace and happiness is one that is undertaken by many and Elif illustrates that Rumi, Ella and Shams were no different. She cleverly keeps her central protagonist (Ella) as one that can easily be related to by many, particularly in the West.

To this day, I keep a copy of the rules close by as a source of reference during troubled (and enlightened) times. Thank you Elif Shafak, you won't know how much this book changed my life - "There is only one way to be born into a new life: to die before death".
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on 29 January 2012
Good read: good character portrayals; full of good lessons about looking out for the downtrodden in society and rising above the 'what will people say' mentality; justified and considerate criticisms of the Muslim status quo I felt; well edited such that every word seemed to count and I found myself not having to sift through fluff to find the important stuff; and love a book that's split into nice small chapters! My only qualm (and I hope I don't come across bigoted) with the book would be doctrinal (i.e. the heart/sufi and the mind/faqih are not opposing forces and instead [in my opinion] two players on the same team)... but that's not why I read the book nor what I was expecting from it so I guess it's not really a justified criticism of the book given that it is (and sets itself out to be) a piece of fiction. Recommended reading!
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on 11 August 2014
Absolutely loved it. I was initially skeptical about reading this book as the writer is known for being geared towards female readers, particularly this book. However I was pleasantly surprised and was unable to put this book this down. Without ruining the spoilers, in a nutshell this book follows 2 different time sequences, one set in Konya close a millennium back in time during the era of the Sufi Mawlana, Rumi, and the other set in 21st century United States about a house wife and her relationships with other members of her house hold. It kind of reads like a book within a book, similar to how in certain films u have the concept of a film within a film. The book begins with Ella the main character reading a manuscript sent to her by a magazine to review it, the manuscript sent to her is the story off the Shams of Tabriz and his relationship with the legendary Rumi, in the process she develops a bond off sorts with the writer of the manuscript. So essentially a book within a book. Such a concept is unique to me. This book was recommended to me by some one one I know and I for one will any day recommend it. For those with the misconception that this book has to do with romantic love or love between a man and a woman, it is far from it.
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on 18 April 2013
A beautiful and inspiring book which has so much to teach us all , about life , about love and about the human spirit .
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on 28 April 2014
If life can be summarised as components, thoughts, experiences & achievements, none outranks as powerfully or as profoundly, as love. We seek it, we deny it, we lose it, we find it. But it's always taking us on a journey. Elif has greatly researched, studied & dissolved all the profound knowledge of the mysterious yet awe inspiring Sufi Derwish Shams al Tabriz and given us a glimpse of the love that inspired the world's greatest poetic legend, Rumi.
Ella is a secondary character who you don't much of, and admittedly by the end, she was of little consequence. Barely believable but a necessary addition to engage the narrative.
The real hero of the novel is Shams. The daring fearless Saint whose adventures and exploits captured the hearts of the downtrodden & inspired their personal journeys back to the divine. Yet, you can't help wonder, the depth of understand Elif has on the topic. Hats off to her for welling up the stone heart of even likes of me...
Buy it, and awaken to the real knowledge of the origin of all faiths, especially Islam, at a time when "faith" is under attack by both it's fundamentalists & those of militant secularism. What is that origin? Love...
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on 24 July 2014
Got this book recommended to me by a friend and decided to read it even though I'm not that fussed about books about love and happily ever after (which I thought this book would be about). But I did absolutely adore The Forty Rules of Love and it was not at all as I imagined it to be. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants a good read and is interested in philosophy, love and religion.
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on 19 March 2016
My favourite genre is historical fiction so I gained most enjoyment from the Shams and Rumi story rather than the modern day one, although the two stories did meld together well and the author writes so well it was very easy reading which meant I didn't put it down until it was finished. Sufism has become a recent interest as I was fortunate enough to discover the enneagram last year and learnt it in a group setting, rather than reading about it, and the Sufis originally taught it in an oral tradition. I have therefore been previously acquainted with learning to know the inner self rather than being fooled by the ego. This book gives easy access to the ideas of Sufism and I hope it inspires people to find out more about it as it has certainly challenged me to change the way I look at things and resulted in my being much happier with who I am and a significant reworking of the things I consider important in life. A must for those who find it difficult to relate to organised religion.
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on 27 August 2014
This is a truly wonderful book; covering the mystical teachings of Sufism-2 interwoven stories Baghdad 1242- USA 2008 and it works. Profound, loving, wise, and very human. This writer has an intelligence that flies--soars boundaries. A n excellent read- she reminded me of things that I'd forgotten. Fantastic story telling too.
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on 4 January 2015
Elif Shafak is an amazing novelist and should get more acknowledgments. This book is the celebration of love and it widened my horizons as someone coming from a Christian background. I also bought one for a Muslim friend of mine and she told me that this book changed her life. I believe her.
It's a must-read masterpiece.
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