Sep 25, 2011

Forty Rules of Love? Seriously?

The description of the book says its a love shared between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and of a housewife in US called Ella with a writer called Aziz.
And that this is on Sufi-ism, which is what made me pick up the book in the first place.

Well, the writing certainly could've been better, I found the style too amateurish. Every time Shams attempts to the rule of love, he quotes the number and says the rule. I wonder why the editors didn't let Elif Shafak know about the different methods of introducing the rules. :)
And then, what seems unclear throughout the book is , how can two men be so much in love with each other - Rumi and Shams?
Yes, they both are Sufis, and Sufi means love, but why that depth in love. This whole topic could've been dealt differently by the author.
And for all the description of Shams that they give, him being the noble, the wise, the kind and the embodiment of love, how did he marry Rumi's daughter and not consummate their marriage, and also insult her causing her to die? That doesn't sound logical at all.

As for the housewife's love story with the writer, Aziz - even that storyline needs a lot of refinement. There are a ton of questions about Ella's estrangement with her husband, and Aziz's story could've been more detailed , if the book was all about Sufi.

Even the writing style is not easy. Its not breezy, and there is no motivation to finish reading the book, because what happens to Shams and Rumi, Ella and Aziz are told in the first few chapters itself.
Also the whole style of each chapter narrated from the character's perspective , which could've made the book interesting, instead made it extremely tough to read. With each of the chapters being just a page or two long, there is a break in the reading and thought process every couple of minutes.

In short, if you have picked up this book thinking it talks about Sufi-ism , then you can give it a miss. If you are considering this as a casual read, then by all means, go ahead and read. And do not expect that this book will make you think or grow wiser.

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