Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

The award-winning novel, ‘Forty Rules of Love’ by Elif Shafak is a delightful entanglement of two narratives and it’ll sweep you off your feet.

Elif Shafak is an award-winning Turkish novelist and most widely read female writer in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English. Her books have been published in almost 40 countries. The novel Forty Rules of Love is a clear mirror of her personality as a peace-maker, cultured and feminist.

Forty Rules of Love is about love as it is understood by the name, it includes two different love, one is contemporary love, another is spiritual love between the Sufi poet and mystic Rumi. Ella Rubenstien is a married woman with a struggling marriage and three children. As she gets a job to proofread for a literary agent, her first task is to submit a report on the novel “Sweet Blasphemy” written by Aziz Zahra. She finally comes in contact with the character Shams of Tabriz, Rumi.

Ella gets too much affected by the story of dervish also named Shams of Tabriz as he set out in the search of soulmate to share his experience, journey and perception about Sufism. His soulmate is Rumi, a poet and mystic Sufi; who is very much appreciated by the citizens of Konya (a holy city where Rumi lived and is buried).

Ella investing herself in the beautiful rules laid in Sweet Blasphemy start to exchange e-mails with the author Aziz Zahra sharing her personal life in the light of these rules. As they talk, they began to feel closer. Ella who is lost and barren longing for love quits her husband, children and home to experience love with Zahra who’s got only 16 months to live as he has fatal skin cancer.

The spiritual love is between Shams of Tabriz and Rumi as they desire to have soulmates as a mentor. They somehow find each other, before they meet, both know there is someone to share their own perceptions. After their encounter, they began to share their insights and knowledge with each other. This distribute of knowledge and wisdom creates the spiritual love between Shams of Tabriz and
Rumi. As the novel revolves around Sufism and love for God whereas a large piece of novel imparts the women’s rights in Islam. Author Elif has shown beyond any doubt her loyalty to the book by addressing love, tolerance and patience.