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The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi Hardcover – 18 Feb 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 214 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books (18 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670021451
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 15.5 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 874,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A gorgeous, jeweled, luxurious book (The Times)

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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Elif Shafak is an award-winning bestselling novelist and the most widely read female writer in Turkey. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Her previous novels include The Bastard of Istanbul, a San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times bestseller, and The Saint of Incipient Insanities. Her op-ed pieces have run in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and she has been featured on National Public Radio.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Initially captivating, the book descended into syrupy farce. Ella, the protagonist, ultimately relies on teachings of Sufi love and an ostensible overlay of Islamic theology to engage in an adulterous liaison. What tripe. Very far from the abandonment of Self advocated by Sufism, this seemed to glorify self-indulgence. Rather than the love of God, this books glorifies the satisfaction of one's lower desires (Nafs) without regard to the consequences to others. Ella's two modalities seem to be either doormat or extreme egoism, either quietly suffering her husband's infidelity or abandoning her family to engage in her own. All conception of duty, honor, dignity, fidelity, all of which are as indispensable an element of God as love, are thrown to the wayside. Rather than to seek perfection of love within her marriage to the man she has known for 20 years and borne three children with, she escapes with a stranger she hardly knows. This smacks not so much as love as desperate escapism, not so much surrender or submission as flight from reality and from responsibility.

The Greek's coined a term for the unconditional, divine and spiritual love of God and for enlightened beings for each other -- agape. Even in her understanding of what loving God means, the author confuses agape with eros. Less frenzy, more peace, less destructive self-indulgence, more understanding and forgiveness. Love is not a feeling, it is an action. Fleeing from your family, abandoning your marriage, following your emotions blindly regardless of the consequences -- these are not things that Sufism would countenance, and less acts of love than of self-destruction.

The author is gifted and a charming story-teller, which makes the work all the more problematic, seductive in its portrayal of a mode of thinking which is ultimately narcissistic and destructive. Sufism it most certainly is not.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this Book - it is unlike anything I had previously read.
Set in Turkey past and present it takes the Reader on a spiritual journey of enlightnment and love.
I learned so much about Shams of Tabriz and Rumi .The unique friendship they shared and the precious Poetry that emanated from it.
The present day Story involving Ella was poignant and wise.
As for the Forty Rules, I found myself writing them down so much did I want to absorb every facet of this marvellous work.
Highly recommend this work, you will not be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read The Flea Palace and The Bastard of Istanbul by the same author, I couldn't wait to start on this novel.
Shafak's style is inventive, erudite and playful; she moves between present day USA, where Ella, a middle aged woman, is researching the background to a book for her publisher boss, to a story within a story (the story of the poet Rumi, famous for his verses about Love, and his friendship with a Sufi mystic), and her developing friendship through correspondence with the writer of the book. Shafak, as a psychologist, is concerned with what makes people tick; in this novel, the answer seems to be, Love - love for each other, and love for God/Nature/spiritual fulfilment. I can't think of any other author with her breadth of experience of different cultures (USA, Turkey), her ability to present copious amounts of historical research as entirely naturalistic detail, and her understanding of the human psyche. A fantastic read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot recall why I bought this book. I am not generally enthralled by female authors. I would have avoided 13th century Middle Eastern fables like the plague. I would certainly have avoided a story about a disillusioned, middle aged Jewish housewife in middle class America. And I would have run a mile from any book that could be called a "romance".
However, I found myself completely engrossed in a beautifully written novel that cleverly interweaves the present day and the 13th century. I shall have to rethink my criteria for buying books.
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By far one of the best books I have read in recent times. It was tweeted about a year ago by Imran Khan that he read this book and was inspired! I can say the same that The Forty Rules of Love is extremely inspirational and life changing. Must Read for all those wanting change and to know more about Shams Tabrez and Rumi..
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Format: Paperback
This book was one of the best I have ever read. And that is for several reasons:

The Story: Rumi and Shams are two well known mystics and are a great source of influence and inspiration since the day of their meeting. Documenting their story in such a beautiful and well structured narrative is a challenge in itself, but drawing a modern-day parallel story underneath it to fuel its meanings is phenomenal, and that is exactly what the author did.

The narrative is informative, inspiring, and cohesive. The characters are intriguing, and the author managed to grant each his/her size without overdoing them. She conjured their stories and weaved them together meticulously. Each came in and out of the picture and the protagonists received a proper background and enough fuel for their events to fit within the narrative and provide full impact.

The Author: a great and quite provocative story-teller. The way she unfolds the events gradually, mixes them up, creates reading anxieties and excitement, and trickles the events in a gradual manner for me is highly intriguing. You get easily pulled into her world and she manages to immerse you in her newly created universe.

The Wisdom: simply put: The 40 Rules themselves are a marvelous piece of wisdom and inspiration. The short stories/aphorisms narrated by the characters are packed with wisdom as well. Both go hand in hand to reveal the essence of this novel.

In short, a piece of art that is a must in an ever-increasingly turbulent world.
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