The Forty Rules of Love

Elif Shafak, Author . Viking $25.95 (354p) ISBN 978-0-670-02145-1

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.)

Reviewed on: 11/30/2009
Release date: 02/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-1512-9
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-18940-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-6512-4
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-18994-8
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-14-311852-7
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61657-890-9
Open Ebook - 978-1-101-42351-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4001-9512-1
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-670-91873-7
Show other formats
Discover what to read next