Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
The Forty Rules of Love
Cover of The Forty Rules of Love
The Forty Rules of Love
A Novel of Rumi
Borrow Borrow Borrow

In this lyrical, exuberant follow-up to her novel The Bastard of Istanbul, acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak incarnates Rumi's timeless message of love

The Forty Rules of Love unfolds two tantalizing parallel narratives—one contemporary and the other set in the thirteenth century, when Rumi encountered his spiritual mentor, the whirling dervish known as Shams of Tabriz—that together explore the enduring power of Rumi's work. 
Ella Rubenstein is forty years old and unhappily married when she takes a job as a reader for a literary agent. Her first assignment is to read and report on Sweet Blasphemy, a novel written by a man named Aziz Zahara. Ella is mesmerized by his tale of Shams's search for Rumi and the dervish's role in transforming the successful but unhappy cleric into a committed mystic, passionate poet, and advocate of love. She is also taken with Shams's lessons, or rules, that offer insight into an ancient philosophy based on the unity of all people and religions, and the presence of love in each and every one of us. As she reads on, she realizes that Rumi's story mir­rors her own and that Zahara—like Shams—has come to set her free.

In this lyrical, exuberant follow-up to her novel The Bastard of Istanbul, acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak incarnates Rumi's timeless message of love

The Forty Rules of Love unfolds two tantalizing parallel narratives—one contemporary and the other set in the thirteenth century, when Rumi encountered his spiritual mentor, the whirling dervish known as Shams of Tabriz—that together explore the enduring power of Rumi's work. 
Ella Rubenstein is forty years old and unhappily married when she takes a job as a reader for a literary agent. Her first assignment is to read and report on Sweet Blasphemy, a novel written by a man named Aziz Zahara. Ella is mesmerized by his tale of Shams's search for Rumi and the dervish's role in transforming the successful but unhappy cleric into a committed mystic, passionate poet, and advocate of love. She is also taken with Shams's lessons, or rules, that offer insight into an ancient philosophy based on the unity of all people and religions, and the presence of love in each and every one of us. As she reads on, she realizes that Rumi's story mir­rors her own and that Zahara—like Shams—has come to set her free.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Prologue

    Between your fingers you hold a stone and throw it into flowing water. The effect might not be easy to see. There will be a small ripple where the stone breaks the surface and then a splash, muffled by the rush of the surrounding river. That's all.

    Throw a stone into a lake. The effect will be not only visible but also far more lasting. The stone will disrupt the still waters. A circle will form where the stone hit the water, and in a flash that circle will multiply into another, then another. Before long the ripples caused by one plop will expand until they can be felt everywhere along the mirrored surface of the water. Only when the circles reach the shore will they stop and die out.

    If a stone hits a river, the river will treat it as yet another commotion in its already tumultuous course. Nothing unusual. Nothing unmanageable.

    If a stone hits a lake, however, the lake will never be the same again.

    For forty years Ella Rubinstein's life had consisted of still waters—a predictable sequence of habits, needs, and preferences. Though it was monotonous and ordinary in many ways, she had not found it tiresome. During the last twenty years, every wish she had, every person she befriended, and every decision she made was filtered through her marriage. Her husband, David, was a successful dentist who worked hard and made a lot of money. She had always known that they did not connect on any deep level, but connecting emotionally need not be a priority on a married couple's list, she thought, especially for a man and a woman who had been married for so long. There were more important things than passion and love in a marriage, such as understanding, affection, compassion, and that most godlike act a person could perform, forgiveness. Love was secondary to any of these. Unless, that is, one lived in novels or romantic movies, where the protagonists were always larger than life and their love nothing short of legend.

    Ella's children topped her list of priorities. They had a beautiful daughter in college, Jeannette, and teenage twins, Orly and Avi. Also, they had a twelve-year-old golden retriever, Spirit, who had been Ella's walking buddy in the mornings and her cheeriest companion ever since he'd been a puppy. Now he was old, overweight, completely deaf, and almost blind; Spirit's time was coming, but Ella preferred to think he would go on forever. Then again, that was how she was. She never confronted the death of anything, be it a habit, a phase, or a marriage, even when the end stood right in front of her, plain and inevitable.

    The Rubinsteins lived in Northampton, Massachusetts, in a large Victorian house that needed some renovation but still was splendid, with five bedrooms, three baths, shiny hardwood floors, a three-car garage, French doors, and, best of all, an outdoor Jacuzzi. They had life insurance, car insurance, retirement plans, college savings plans, joint bank accounts, and, in addition to the house they lived in, two prestigious apartments: one in Boston, the other in Rhode Island. She and David had worked hard for all this. A big, busy house with children, elegant furniture, and the wafting scent of homemade pies might seem a cliché to some people, but to them it was the picture of an ideal life. They had built their marriage around this shared vision and had attained most, if not all, of their dreams.

    On their last Valentine's Day, her husband had given her a heart-shaped diamond pendant and a card that read,

    To my dear Ella,

    A woman with a quiet manner, a generous heart, and the patience of a saint. Thank you for accepting me as I am. Thank you for...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 30, 2009
    Celebrated Turkish novelist Shafak (The Bastard of Istanbul
    ) serves up a curious blend of mediocre hen lit and epic historical to underwhelming results. In present-day Boston, dull suburban mother and cheated-on wife Ella Rubinstein takes a job as a reader for a literary agent and becomes entranced by Aziz Zahara, the author of a manuscript about the relationship between 13th-century poet Rumi and Sufi mystic Shams that, for better or for worse, becomes a story-within-a-story. Aziz and Ella strike up an e-mail relationship, largely made up of Ella's midlife crisis and Aziz's philosophical replies. Meanwhile, Aziz's novel, Sweet Blasphemy
    , is occasionally interesting but mostly dull, weighed down by Rufi's and Shams's theological musings. Its better moments concern tangential characters; Rumi's son, Aladdin, who is resentful of his father's closeness to the mystic, and Rumi's adopted daughter, Kimya, whose doomed marriage to Shams is touching in a way Ella's failed relationship with her husband never manages. The rumblings against Shams reach a peak, and Ella and Aziz finally meet, tying the story lines together into a readable, if not enthralling, tale.

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2010
    The bestselling, controversial Turkish author (Bastard of Istanbul, 2007, etc.) enfolds a historical narrative about a Sufi poet within the contemporary tale of a discontented Massachusetts housewife.

    With her daughter in college and her twins in high school, Ella Rubinstein has gone back to work as a reader for a Boston literary agent. She accepts the lack of passion in her marriage to a philandering dentist—this unfortunate stereotype is typical of Shafak's tin ear where Americans are concerned—until her first reading assignment forces her to reexamine her complacency. It's a manuscript entitled Sweet Blasphemy, which describes the 13th-century friendship between Rumi, a respected Muslim scholar, and Shams, a wandering dervish who became his soul mate. Soon Ella is carrying on an e-mail correspondence of growing intensity with the manuscript's author, Craig, a Scot who found Sufism after a long period of personal crisis. Craig and Ella are soul mates too, and it doesn't hurt that he's cute. It's hard to care about Ella, who considers her younger daughter's eating disorder a distraction from her pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. The energy, complexity and empathy found in Shafak's previous work are evident only in the sections of the text devoted to Rumi. He suffers humiliations from Shams, a gifted mystic but far from perfect human being who cuts him off from his family and followers, but Rumi appreciates the deeper meaning behind the tests Shams sets for him. When Shams is murdered with the help of Rumi's jealous son, Rumi's grief blossoms into great poetry still beloved today. In the parallel present, Ella leaves her family to follow Craig to Turkey, knowing he has terminal cancer. His death only deepens her commitment to her personal quest, and she heads to Amsterdam, where he had lived. After all, the kids can always visit.

    Shafak should have dropped Ella's story, with its preachy spiritual ruminations, and stuck to Rumi's odyssey, which opens a window into a world Westerners know little about.

    (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    January 15, 2010
    Parallel spiritual experiences leap across hundreds of years in this story of searching and awakening by Turkish author Shafak ("The Bastard of Istanbul"). Nearing 40, Ella Rubenstein runs her American suburban household with grace, denying any evidence that all is not well (her husband is unfaithful, and her kids are distant). Once she gets a job assignment to read the manuscript of a novel involving Rumi, the poet and Sufi master, her well-ordered world is changed forever. She begins an email correspondence with Aziz, the charming and mystical author, that becomes the impetus for her own personal renaissance. Moving rapidly across continents and across time, Shafak's allegorical tale functions as a vehicle for the titular 40 rules, which are woven throughout. Chapters alternate between Ella's life in 2008 and the lives of Rumi and other characters from the manuscript, set around 1245. The tantalizing possibility of romance lingers, although with much vexation, as these Forty Rules of Love point not to "eros" but to "agape", the love of God and of all beings. VERDICT This novel, a best seller in Turkey, may appeal to fans of Nicholas Sparks or Robert James Waller. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 10/15/09.]Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty.

    Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 15, 2010
    As in her previous book, The Bastard of Istanbul (2007), Shafak, a courageous, best-selling Turkish writer, boldly links East and West in converging narratives. In present-day Massachusetts, Ella, an unhappy housewife on the cusp of 40, begins reading manuscripts for a literary agency, and soon finds herself exchanging personal e-mails with Aziz Zahara, a wandering Sufi photographer and the author of Ellas first assignment, an enthralling novel titled Sweet Blasphemy. It fictionalizes the true story of the esteemed thirteenth-century Muslim teacher Rumi, who undergoes a profound transformation when the wandering dervish Shams of Tabriz, a renegade of strange and unnerving powers, comes to town. The two become inseparable, and as Shams shares the liberating forty rules of love, Rumi becomes a rebel mystic, the inventor of the ecstatic dance of the whirling dervishes, and a fervent and cherished poet. Under Azizs influence, Ella also breaks free of convention and opens herself to cosmic forces. Infused with Sufi mysticism and Rumis incomparable lyrics, and sweetly human in its embrace of our flaws and failings, Shafaks seductive, shrewd, and affecting novel brilliantly revives the revelations of Shams and Rumi, and daringly illuminates the differences between religion and spirituality, censure and compassion, fear and love of life in our own violent world.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Penguin Publishing Group
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
The Forty Rules of Love
The Forty Rules of Love
A Novel of Rumi
Elif Shafak
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel