Two things intrigued me to purchase this novel and read it, the first reason is its title “the Forty Rules of Love” as I am in a place in my life where I needed to know the rules of love and the second reason is the author “Elif Shafak” a known Turkish novelist that I have never heard of before and wanted to discover her style as she is an award-winning novelist.
When I started reading the book, I found out that it has nothing to do with the contemporary love, it is not a romantic book per say. It is in fact two books in one, as Elif incorporated two stories in one in a very smooth way. She divided the book into five chapters according the five elements of life: Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and Void, which will be explained with very simple rules of Islam. Elif starts by describing the life of a young woman “Ella” who doesn’t know that her marriage lacks the love she has always wanted and never knew how to feel. While she was reading a manuscript, “sweet Blasphemy” about the Thirteenth-Century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz as he recites the forty rules of love, Ella contacted the author, Aziz.
In a much unexpected way the communication between Ella and Aziz, turned from being professional communication to love letters. At the End Ella decides to follow the rule number forty “A Life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what 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, no definitions; it is what it is, pure and simple.” “Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire!” “The universe turns differently when fire loves water”.
Inside the story of Aziz and Ella, there is another love story between a dervish “Shams of Tabriz” and a faqih “Rumi”. Their encounter was filled with passionate friendship. Where at the end, Shams of Tabriz sacrifices his life so that Rumi can accomplish his purpose in life and become a poet.
The novel is full of strange feelings and, inexplicable actions that only the dervish, Shams of Tabriz explains by reciting the rules of love and incorporating it with the rules of the Quran and the Islam.
A very interesting read, which will take you back and forth in time just to make you discover at the end that the only constant thing in this life is love.
You can buy this book on Antoine Online.