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The Forty Rules of Love


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About the Author

Elif Shafak is one of today's most influential international writers and intellectuals who straddle East and West. She is the acclaimed author of ten novels including The Architect's Apprentice and The Bastard of Istanbul, and is the most widely read female writer in Turkey. Her work has been translated into over forty languages and she has been awarded the prestigious Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. She is also a public speaker, a women's and LGBT rights activist and a commentator who regularly contributes to world publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and La Repubblica. Elif has been longlisted for the Orange Prize, the Baileys Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award, and shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Ondaatje Prize. She lives in London and can be found at www.elifshafak.com.


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 Reed Business Information.

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. (Feb.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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