The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

Pages: 354 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Sufism, Religion
Goodreads Rating: 4.16

My Rating: 5 

Okay, where do I start with a book like this? I’m scared my review wont do the book justice, because this book is a beauty, devastatingly beautiful.

The Forty Rules of Love consists of two parallel narratives. The first narrative is about Ella, who works for a literary agency and she was given a book entitled Sweet Blasphemy and yep, the Sweet Blasphemy is the second narrative of this novel. It’s a story of the great mystic Sufi, Jalaluddin Rumi with his soul instructor, disciple, companion and a soulmate, Shams of Tabriz in their quest for eternal love of God. The crust of the story is about yes, the old and frequently written theme – love – but not the typical cheesy and mushy stuffs of love, it is something different, a widened concept of love.

The first narrative of Ella was somehow odd and empty, I didn’t find it exciting as the second one. Shafak really nailed in narrating the second narrative, the Sweet Blasphemy. The way it was shown from many perspectives, from Shams perspective, the beggar, Sulaiman the Drunk, Desert Rose the Harlot, and Rumi;s family was really captivating. I loved everything about this book and most of it is because of Shams of Tabriz, from his exquisite rules of love, to his bold personality, to his love and belief in God, EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND MESMERIZING. This is the first time that I have so much respect for a book character. Nak fangirling pun macam serba salah sebab hormat, kah kah kah.


This is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. The narratives, the characters, the plot twists, the 40 rules themselves, are a marvelous piece of wisdom and inspiration. A must read for everyone. A book that goes beyond all faiths, beliefs, thoughts and current societal conditions. Highly recommended!


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