Book Review of Forty Rules Of Love by Elif Shafak

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Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.


Forty Rules Of Love by Elif Shafak

Neelam Sharma,

Writing Style


Ella Rubinstein has a husband, three teenage children, and a pleasant home. Everything that should make her confident and fulfil. Yet there is an emptiness at the heart of Ella’s life – an emptiness once filled by love.

So when Ella reads a manuscript about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and his forty rules of life and love, her world is turned upside down. She embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author of this work.

It is a quest infused with Sufi mysticism and verse, taking Ella and us into an exotic world where faith and love are heartbreakingly explored. . .


Indeed, for the unversed and the unacquainted, Love is an inherent part of our soul, something which is just always there, but how we choose to recognize it, call upon it and imbibe it in our daily course of living is what changes every individual’s vantage and discretion towards it.

My title in the discussion today is the book The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak which is a book that has been doing the rounds I believe of major reading circles, being on their TBR’s and widely acclaimed and lauded for being a truly pursuable, exotic quest infused with Sufi mysticism and verse, a piece where faith and love are heartbreakingly explored. This book is something that is garnering some of the most rave reviews, making it one of the most sought titles in recent times.

So whilst I only wanted to read something light and sweet, more of an escapade, well this one was a life-changing, emotional stirring kinda read. The complete way in which Ella’s story, her course of life unfolds before our eyes is resonation personified. I mean, you will surely relate to the picture painted of Ella and deep down get caught in the gripping scenarios her life entwines into. What actually was the life of this whole write up for me especially was the book within the book aka Sweet Blasphemy-the book that Ella ends up with, which brings about the changes for her. The endurance her character portrays, the complete aspect of how she finds love is so intricate and beautiful it simply sweeps at the strings of my heart. Not to forget the 2 parallel stories that run, one in the present contemporary world, the other in the 13th century. You shall relate them together in the end. Well, without revealing further I want to mention especially, how I loved Shams of Tabriz. Unpredictable, crazy, this one will carve a niche in your heart for keeps.

There is so much the book has to offer, I mean apart from the fact that it is set in the 13th century, there is so much going on- there is war, the religious diversity of opinions, Love, faith and even Sufism. Yes, Sufism which by itself is a wondrously deep musing, a topic worthy of the utmost attention and musing. Without getting into any biased evaluations to the concepts put forward as regards Islam and Sufism I must commend on the manner in which the author has put forward her perception brilliantly whilst bringing every single character to life, having meticulously researched all grounds and facets related to his plot before creating this piece of work.

Not to forget the beautiful quotes of Rumi, the entire beauty and mysticism of Sufism, the dynamic and multitude that is evident and inherent in its practice and teachings. The spell created is as enthralling as it is mesmerizing. I know many might ruffle their feathers a bit about the conceptualizations of Islam and Sufism and its relative significances depicted herein, but let’s be honest we aren’t here to judge but rather share and revel in the Author’s vision and vantage of love.

A thought-provoking, moving piece of writing this one holds you in a way not many works of art can, amazing you with the emotional, enlightening ramifications it makes through its parallel track set up.

Fans of Rumi will rejoice as this is that one piece of work that shows truly why he is the celebrated scholar he is touted and why his works of art are some of the most sensitive pieces in the world. For me, the quotes included were sheer jewels, adorning this mystical writing with their mesmerizing sheen.

I hope you like the book review of Forty Rules Of Love by Elif Shafak. Do let us know what you think in the comments.

So this was my musing and thoughts for you on a fabulous piece of writing, one which also forms a part of one of the BBC’s 100 Novels that shaped the world. See you soon with yet another musing, another great title waiting to be perused by us book worms, coz hey we at Booxoul love books and all things bookish. 

Ciao people and do keep coming back for much more…

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