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‘The Forty Rules of Love’ broadens your horizons

‘Shafak invites her readers to a remarkable travel in space and time’

Gulf News

Published in 2009, “The Forty Rules of Love” by Turkish author Elif Shafak is one of my favourite books. Rapidly becoming a worldwide bestseller, it has been translated to more than 40 languages. Shafak invites her readers to a remarkable travel in space and time: from Northampton to Amsterdam and from Tabriz to Baghdad.

It is above all a book about love, an improbable contemporary romance between two characters: Ella Rubenstein, an American housewife and Aziz a Muslim-Sufi living in Amsterdam. It is also a story about a spiritual love between Shams of Tabriz, a fascinating dervish, and Rumi, a Persian poet, jurist, theologian and Sufi mystic in the thirteenth century. The neatly alternating plots with the surprising historical sequences add an interesting dimension to the story and to the reading flow. The reader gets quickly hooked.

Enlightening and inspirational “The Forty Rules of Love” had a big impact on me as it has broadened my horizons to spirituality and made me want to deepen my knowledge of religion and philosophy. This book also made me discover other talented Turkish authors such as Orhan Pamuk and Ahmet Umit. Finally it has also confirmed my taste regarding books: philosophical novels, oriental literature, and Bildungsroman (novels of education).


— The reader is a marketing professional based in Dubai.