Book Reviews

The Forty Rules Of Love by Elif Shafak

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As a historical fiction zealot, I simply loved this book and it is said to have been Elif’s most read book, so to speak.

On one hand, this book sheds light upon the life of a 40-ish American woman stuck with her bigamous and treacherous husband, and on the other hand, it elucidates the miraculous life lived by one of the greatest mystics and dervishes to ever walk upon earth – Shah Shams Tabriz. 

Sham of Tabriz was born an unusual person; he always did something or the other that depicted his presence on earth a colossally complex mystery. He left his home and became a wanderer exploring fors and againsts of this largely polarized world. There is a wide array of characters in this novel whose life changed 360 degree after they met Shams.

This book also lifts the curtain on how Rumi, one of the greatest poets in the history of humankind, began his voyage towards Sufism. Rumi wasn’t the Rumi we know in this day and age; he once had a mania for mainstream Islam which isn’t even in close proximity with sufi Islam. He was one of those many clerics who didn’t know a thing about connection with God and yet gave lengthsome sermons after cramming thick religious books. When Rumi came across Shams, that was his moment in the sun and that’s exactly when he ran into his actual self and ascended the pinnacle of his journey towards the divine. 

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She knew that her husband of 20 years had slept with several women without making it look like one heck of a deal, and that she’d been pretending to be perfectly naive of his extramarital affairs all these years. The Jewish-American woman despite everything tried her best to make this nauseating relationship linger until she bumped into ‘sweet blasphemy’ – a book based on sagas of Shams Of Tabriz which ultimately took her to where she was destined to be. She broke her toxic marriage and went ahead to be with her newly found love; and that’s the serene climax of this novel.

This book is sure to give you goosebumps plenty of times, devour it if you haven’t devoured it until now.

This review was written by our guest author Annie Zehra. She’s an educator, writer and an avid reader of historical fiction and fantasy fiction. Connect with her via @annieewrites.

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