“Even a speck of love should not go unappreciated.”
Forty Rules of Love: A Journey of finding Love and Yourself
I don’t remember how I bumped into this book but in one of the most unlikeliest times, it had the power to give me solace. I don’t know what’s your idea of romance novels but this one is not like the usual ones where there are literally point wise things on what one must do or not do in love, most things just theoritical.
It is the journey of a forty year old Ela Rubinstein, whose life has a predictable sequence of habits, needs and preferences. She has dedicated almost her entire life to her three kids and her husband David. They are a couple which doesn’t share a deeper level of love, and she’s been fine with it until now. She was not going to file a divorce but she was perhaps going to discover love, and eventually find herself.
The story revolves around the book that Ella is reading as a part time reviewer. The story is about Rumi and his spiritual partner Shams, how they meet and what happens to them. We keep reading and sharing things about Rumi without knowing that it was after meeting Shams that Rumi was inspired to write poetry. The character of Shams (a sufi saint) is the most bold of all. He questions all rigid laws of the land and brings up some genuinely genius interpretations of the Quran.
This book can be a beautiful introduction to Sufism too. The characters are so real that they could come out of the book. This book has beautiful quotes on almost every second page. Here are some of them:
Quotes from Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak:
Building her whole life around her husband and children, Ella lacked any survival techniques to help her cope with life’s hardships on her own. She was not the type to throw caution to the wind. Even changing her daily coffee brand was a major effort.
There is no seeker among those who search for Love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for Love, you start to change within and without.
Intellect and love are made of different materials,” he said. “Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advises, ‘Beware too much ecstasy,’ whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’
“Yes, but you quarrel with people,” I objected. Shams bristled with fervor. “I don’t quarrel with them, I quarrel with their inflated sense of themselves. That’s different.”
“It’s Rule Number Forty,” she said slowly. “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.
About Elif Shafak, the Writer
Elif Shafak, Turkish person herself but she writes largely in English. One must appreciate Elif Shafak’s audacity to involve the politics of love and religion in her story. Her audacity to touch upon different taboos so beautifully, makes this book even more interesting. In real life too, she stands up for issues that matter and inspires everyone to break the taboos.
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