I got to know Elif Shafak by her TED Talk. She discusses the politics of fiction. Watching her talk, I could reflect on a few discussions with our colleagues. Many of us regard out how we perceive stories and what we expect from stories
Interested in her idea, I wanted to read her novels as well. Of all, I picked Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak since, it seemed poetic and mentioned of Rumi as well.
Ella, a forty year old woman rethinks of her life while reading a manuscript as part of her work. It takes us back to 12th century, the story of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. Like the title, there’s a mention of forty rules of love through a context. Like one of the rules, “The past is an interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead, time moves through and within us, in endless spirals,” the story moves in endless spirals shifting from future to past, characters to characters, young to old. It’s a page turner!
In the past, I heard a lot of anecdotes of Rumi but, reading Rumi through this novel, I can imagine his contemporaries, his conflicts and the whole timeline.
Through a non-linear narrative, we get to read two character’s life stories and their quest for love. One story is set in 21st century. Other is set in 12th century. Although time advances, the quest for the love and the conflicts it come up with seem same. Be it in 12th century or 21st century.
I’m eager to read other works of Elif Shafak. Pick this book, if you’re up for a bit poetry, romance and Rumi.