In this lyrical, exuberant follow-up to her novel The Bastard of Istanbul, acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak incarnates Rumi's timeless message of loveThe Forty Rules of Love 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 explore the enduring power of Rumi's work.
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.
About the Author
Elif Shafak is an award-winning, bestselling novelist, a champion of women’s rights and freedom of expression, and the most widely read female novelist in Turkey. Her books have been translated into more than fifty languages. Her novels include The Bastard of Istanbul, Honor, The Architect’s Apprentice, Three Daughters of Eve, and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, which was a finalist for the 2019 Booker Prize. She is also the author of a memoir, Black Milk: On the Conflicting Demands of Writing, Creativity, and Motherhood. An active political commentator, columnist, and public speaker, she lives in London. Her Web site is www.elifshafak.com.
Praise for The Forty Rules of Love:
"Here's a middle-aged love story and the inside story of one of history's great friendships, and on top of all that, the story of the battle within medieval Islam between the conservatives and the Sufis... Laugh, cry, tear your hair out as you learn."
"A captivating and wise book . . . The tale of the fated meeting, spiritual companionship, and tragic parting of [Rumi and Shams of Tabriz] is beautifully recounted in The Forty Rules of Love. . . . Shafak draws on facts from Rumi's and Sham's biographies and brings them to life with deft storytelling."
"A gorgeous, jeweled, luxurious book . . . The past and the present fit together beautifully in a passionate defense of passion itself."
—The Times (London)
"In this appealing fable, Turkish author Elif Shafak toggles between characters from different times: a modern American housewife and a thirteenth-century poet. . . . The universal theme is struggle between the rational mind and the aching heart. Shafak's heroine yields to the latter and never looks back."