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The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi (Paperback)
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In this lyrical, exuberant follow-up to her 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.
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
Eli 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 forty languages. Her novels include The Flea Palace, The Saint of Incipient Insanities, The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, and The Architect's Apprentice. An active political commentator, columnist, and public speaker, she lives in London and Istanbul with her family.
"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."