The forty rules of love – Elif Shafak -

“When you kill someone, something from that person passes to you a sigh, smell or a gesture. I call it “the curse of the victim.”It clings to your body and seeps into your skin, going all the way into your heart, and thus continues to live within you.”


Processed with VSCO with t2 preset
Processed with VSCO with t2 preset


I believe this is the same when you find a love that touches your core. Something that makes your introspect your very existence and makes you a more sensitive person. And this beautiful book “The forty rules of Love” by the very prolific Turkish writer Elif Shafak talks about one such love.


It is a story of Ella Rubenstein, a housewife living in Massachusetts. Bored of her existence and stuck in the mundane she gets a job as a literary reviewer, and the first novel she is asked to read is “Sweet Blasphemy” by Aziz Zahara. The novel is about Rumi, a 13th-century poet and his pure love for the Shams of Tabriz, the dervish that becomes his closest friend. As she starts reading the manuscript, Ella starts to question her perfect life and everything that she tries so hard to control.


Just like Rumi was drawn to the aura of Shams, Ella finds herself drawn to Aziz and begins a correspondence with him. While the book has 2 different stories and many narratives woven together, it makes for a seamless read. Ella and Aziz are two individuals who live dramatically different lives, while she is the pampered woman of the house, Aziz is a Sufi who lives a nomadic life. And you cannot help and draw parallels between the lives of Rumi and Shams. Rumi, the son of a famous scholar, a married man with children, friends, and family who worship the ground on which he walks. Shams, on the other hand, was a  wandering dervish who was despised by the learned men of the times and ostracized by society.


But when Rumi meets Shams he knows that he has found the companion that he was looking for. Even though Shams is reviled by the world, for Rumi he is the Sun and the Moon, the sight in his eyes and the prayers in his heart. No one understands how these 2 people can feel such a deep soul connection. Completely engulfed in Shams love, Rumi became a poet, a philosopher and someone whose words are still read in the modern world, centuries after he has gone.


The book makes you wonder what would happen if you found a love like that? A love that is pure, a love that is as real as the breath that leaves your mouth every minute that you are alive and love that even when discarded by beloved, still loves, still prays, without any hope or agenda. Would you let the love lift you towards the higher being or will you forget that it ever existed?


A fabulous read.