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The Forty Rules of Love

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  107,891 ratings  ·  13,611 reviews
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.

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Hardcover, 354 pages
Published February 18th 2010 by Viking (first published 2009)
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Zainab Although late to the party, in my opinion the answer is in the rule 38, '' do not ask yourself which kind of love you should seek, spiritual or…moreAlthough late to the party, in my opinion the answer is in the rule 38, '' do not ask yourself which kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western..Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, definitions''. (less)
Noha Masri قرأت عن هذه الرواية كثيرا قبل أن أقرأها ، أعجبني الانتقال بين العالمين ، عالم الكاتبة وعالم جلال الدين الرومي والتبريزي، أسلوب سلس وعميق يعتمد على عمق…moreقرأت عن هذه الرواية كثيرا قبل أن أقرأها ، أعجبني الانتقال بين العالمين ، عالم الكاتبة وعالم جلال الدين الرومي والتبريزي، أسلوب سلس وعميق يعتمد على عمق النظرة الصوفية للعالم والدين والحب والمجتمع ، لن اضيف شيئا جديدا ان توسعت بالكتابة عنها لأن الكثيرين كتبوا وأوفوها حقها.. اعطيتها اربع نجمات.(less)

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Michelle Bird
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I heard the author of this book, Elif Shafak, interviewed on NPR on my way to work and had to rush out and buy the book (in hardback, no less) based on her interview. It's rare to hear someone on the radio and think, "That is an amazingly interesting person. I would love her writing." Kudos to Books Inc. in Alameda (one of the few independent bookstores around)- I walked in and said I was looking for a book by a Turkish author and there was something about love in the title... and they found it! ...more
Khaled Mohamed
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, favourite
“Fourteenth Rule: Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”
Aneela ♒the_mystique_reader♒
Finally! The book I wanted to read for such a long time.
Glad I managed to finish my ARC pile. Now its time for some pleasure reading. :-)

Israt Zaman Disha
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 3.5stars

“Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.”

I started this book some time ago. But after a few pages I put it down. For it raised a very conflicting situation in my mind. And I was not sure whether to read it further. As a reader I am very much affected by books. I have seen a good book touch my heart and change my way of thinking. I was not sure if it
...more
Burcu
This was my first Elif Safak and I can only hope that not all of her novels are like this. I simply found this novel weak, even "forced." It reads like any other Western/American novelist writing about the Eastern culture. But wait... Elif Safak is Turkish, right? Precisely.. I think what the author tries to do with this novel (and unfortunately fails) is to show a treasure of Eastern spiritualism to the American reader. What happens as a result is that it becomes another form of exoticism. ...more
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
Before I write my review of this book, I need to clarify a few points that I believe are misleading in the book.

Islam in itself is a unity and oneness, all devoted to Allah, some people in later years fell in "love" with Allah, and called themselves Sufis. Sufism in itself isn't Islam, it's actually quite extreme and Islam is a religion of moderation.

The "love" that's repeated throughout the book should have been clarified as the "love" of Allah. Sufi people aren't all dervishes. And the word
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Reneesarah
Aug 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aqsa (On Hiatus)
4.5 Wonderful Stars!

Love came to Ella as suddenly and brusquely as if a stone had been hurled from out of nowhere into the tranquil pond of her life.

I wanted to read something soft and sweet when I started this, but it was anything but. The prologue was very capturing, and I decided to read more. Part one interested me and I was curious to read more but not desperate until I reached the middle of Part two.

I love the fact that each chapter starts with “B” and I love that we get to read the novel
...more
Usman Hickmath
May 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Ella is in her late 30s and has a routine of a typical housewife of that age. Her husband is cheating on her, and the daughter is not listening to her and wants to marry a man who is not from the same faith. Depressed by all these events, she gets into a relationship with an author, Aziz, also a Sufi, whose novel is being reviewed by her for a publisher. And the story goes on to tell what happened to their relationship.

Ella’s story, which is nothing more than a story of a below par soap, makes
...more
Emma
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading this book for a long time, only managing it in fits and starts. Partly this was because I found the ancient sections about Rumi and Shams much more interesting than the existential crisis of a modern housewife, but also because this book made me thoughtful and contemplative. The discussions based around the Forty Rules are the kind that necessitate stepping outside the framework of the novel and applying the concept to you own life, to see how it fits with what you already ...more
Sarah
This book was sitting on my shelf for more than over a year, and I had no plans to rush and read it. I mistakenly thought it is just another novel about 'love', so I withheld reading it.

I was wrong.

But I guess back then it was not the right time for me to read it.

A while ago, I became obsessed with Rumi's poetry, and so, one of my friends recommended that I should read this novel ASAP.

So I did.

What can I say? I'm still quite shaken by this masterpiece.

The novel consists of two parallel
...more
Geoffrey Fox
Nov 19, 2011 rated it liked it
The encounter and transforming love between Rumi and the wandering dervish Shams i-Tabriz in the 1240s is background, context and explanation of the transformation in 2008 and 2009 of Ella Rubinstein, Jewish American housewife in Northampton MA, through contact with their story. Shams turns the respected and sedate scholar Rumi into a poet and co-founder (along with Shams) of the whirling dervishes; their story turns Ella from a self-repressed, resigned wife in a loveless marriage into a free ...more
Prashasti
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
"Whatever you see as profitable, flee from it!
Drink poison and pour away the water of life!
Abandon security and stay in frightful places!
Throw away reputation, become disgraced and shameless"


As a child, I recall being fascinated with Sufism, the twirling dervishes, spinning their bodies with their skirts and dishdashas flying in repetitive circles listening to the music and focusing on Allah, completely lost and devoted in Sema.

With that image in my mind also accompanied with the fact of
...more
Titilayo
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
what can i say? this book was pretty fucking amazing? the metaphor on the first page sets a precedent for the psychic trip which is this engaging, retrospective tour of life, written in elegant prose...teeming with compelling drive to THINK...FEEL...PRAY...LIVE...BELIEVE...COMMIT

As stories of self-discovery go-it's unorthodox. what do a middle evil islamic scholar, heretic muslim mystic, international photographer and a middle aged jewish housewife....thought provoking philosophical
...more
Karen
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tisha
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I should define this book as a spiritual journey actually. I won’t say it was astounding, but I also won’t be saying it was something petty!

As a lover of words, I loved the book. On the contrary, as a reader, I didn’t enjoy it to that extent. It bored me a bit as all the talking on Sufism was getting really intense.

I face problem in reading books like this where each chapter starts with different characters. I feel the flow of my reading somehow breaks there.

Besides, in this Sufism theme, the
...more
Salman Tariq
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Its not a review"

It came to my dream " make Rumi your teacher " which left me baffled how It can be possible in the present world.
The timing of this book could not have be more than perfect . After reading this book things are more clear to me in trouble times . A book close to my heart.
Once my friend told me if you can't find a teacher , Rumi masnavi is yours .
Giss Golabetoon
Jan 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Finding words to say how uninteresting and disappointing this book was is hard, this is my first and last elif shafak novel.the story didn't have anything to offer nor her style of writing
Sophia Triad
Philosophy, poetry and forbidden love, which comes a bit too late

The main heroine of this book made me so angry!

Ella is forty, she is married with three grown up children, she lives in a beautiful house with a beautiful garden, she has just got a part time job as a reader for a literally agency and she is utterly unhappy.

The question is “was she ever happy?” She married her husband at a young age. I am not sure if she ever loved him or if she stopped loving him as soon as the children were born
...more
Amal Bedhyefi
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I have finished reading this and i still cannot see what what all this fuss and hype is about.
The book is AMAZINGLY well written , there is no doubt , but , at the same time , so overrated.
Wait for my book review if you want to know what i got to say.
Abubakar Mehdi
Sep 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sufism, as much as I have understood it, stretches the idea of existence and the divine to such abstractness that it allows even an agnostic to become a sufi. Sufi doesn’t believe in God in the conventional sense, that is, his conception of god is rather obscured by flashy metaphors and quite distinct from the idea of God that religion puts forward.
This book tries to make sufism the new sexy, and fails miserably. And its failure isn’t on a philosophical level, but at a humiliatingly lower and
...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
The Forty Rules of Love has been on my wish list for a long time, and I wish I had got to it sooner. I instantly fell in love with it! Although, when I think about it, maybe it's best to read books when you've forgotten even the blurb. This is how I picked up the forty Rules of Love – a quick glance through the shelf in the library, me remembering I wanted to read this years ago, considering I must've had a good reason, and here we are. And like I said, me and the book instantly clicked!

It’s
...more
Nabilah Firdaus
Okay, where do I start with a book like this? I’m scared my review wont do the book justice, because this book is a beauty, devastatingly beautiful.


The Forty Rules of Love consists of two parallel narratives. The first narrative is about Ella, who works for a literary agency and she was given a book entitled Sweet Blasphemy and yep, the Sweet Blasphemy is the second narrative of this novel. It’s a story of the great mystic Sufi, Jalaluddin Rumi with his soul instructor, disciple, companion and a
...more
Jeffrey Fennelly
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
PLEASE APPROACH THIS BOOK WITH CAUTION: if you have standards for style, you will be greatly disappointed. I gave it an extra star only because it taught me a good deal about a culture about which I could claim scant knowledge before reading the book. I found it consistently confounding, a potentially compelling story ruined by weak writing. It seems that while crafting it, the author was either careless, distracted, lazy, or some combination of these. It is painfully loaded with clichés, to a ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As one of the characters suggests, there is a central dichotomy within organised religions between the spiritual and intellectual, between orthodoxy and originality, with individuals teetering on the brink between prophet and mad-man, a herald and a heretic, between a Mohammed and a Shabs, one revered by millions of followers and the other murdered, their corpse dumped in a well, an irrelevant footnote in history. Another strange, almost contradictory, aspect to religion, is how, once it's ...more
Savir  Husain Khan
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
My Rating- 3.5

I was introduced to Rumi in my childhood through the collection of poetry by my uncle since then I heard so many stories about Mawlana Rumi and Shams Tabrej. One thing I can say, that this book is unable to justify the image that I have of Mawlana Rum in my mind.

It was very grasping till the part two and I really enjoyed the flow and the unfolding of events, however, for later parts, I believe, it could have been shown better with more grasping and vivid personality of Rumi.
Gayathri
Read the full review at Elgee Writes

I tried so hard to like The Forty rules of love but I was left disappointed. And for once it was not because of my high expectations or the hype. I just failed to understand the whole point of the rules of love and completely disliked the preachy tone and wonder if it had anything to do with the translation or it was just the writing itself.

I wish it had a little bit lightheartedness in it to make it more fun to read. There were too many small characters to
...more
Tim
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I cannot think of a book that has spoken to me more directly in a particular period of time. The "Rules of the Religion of Love" articulated by Shams state universal truths that we all realize deep down, but it is the way that the message is put together that really penetrates to our core essence.

The Sufi path is one of getting to the meaning of things. It always desires to go deeper to experience ultimate reality. This requires losing conceptions of God, religion, relationships, life, etc...
...more
Fouad Khan
Jan 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is packaged spirituality for hockey moms. This book, it takes something that is complex, profound and meaningful and reduces it to easily digestible aphorisms for the consumer class. It is so blatantly formulaic, it literally builds its target audience into the novel! The suburban housewife has a suburban housewife counterpart in the book to relate to... just to put another signpost in there for the spoon-fed to follow.

This is like 'Sophie's World' for Sufism. However, while Sophie's world
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I always intended to read Elif Shafak in the year The World's Literature group read Turkey (2013), but somehow the year slipped to December before I cracked one.

I had more reasons to be interested in Shafak. When I took a visiting Turkish artist to the High Museum in Atlanta, and her English was just a bit better than my Turkish, we still managed to have a conversation about books and authors. I learned that Elif Shafak is her favorite author, and that this is her favorite book.

Then I was
...more
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Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into fifty languages. 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 ...more
“Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven't loved enough.” 1342 likes
“حياتك حافلة، مليئة، كاملة، أو هكذا يخيل إليك، حتى يظهر فيها شخص يجعلك تدرك ما كنت تفتقده طوال هذا الوقت.
مثل مرآة تعكس الغائب لا الحاضر، تريك الفراغ فى روحك، الفراغ الذى كنت تقاوم رؤيته.”
1278 likes
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