Do you ever feel so disappointed in yourself when you don’t fall in love with a book? I did as I read The Forty rules of love. When I was in a reading slump a while ago, a friend of mine nudged (read as: pushed) me towards this one as this was one of her favorite books.
I had had few others recommending this book earlier, and the time had finally come for me to pick The Forty rules of love. So let us see how that turned out for me right?
About The Forty rules of love
Book Name: The Forty rules of love
Author: Elif Shafak
Genre: Fiction – Drama, Magical Realism, Historical
Characters: Ella, Rumi, Shams-i Tabrizi
Setting: The USA, Turkey
Plot Summary of The Forty rules of love
The Forty rules of love is a story within a story. Ella, a married woman is going through a mid life crisis with a loveless marriage, a husband who is cheating on her and kids who don’t need her anymore.
When her young daughter announces that she is getting married to her boyfriend, Ella finds it hard to believe that people (i.e. her daughter) wanted to marry for love.
Ella is a beta reader who receives a manuscript from an author with whom she begins email conversation. She realizes that Aziz was so different from her and his beliefs and faith shock her as much as they enthuse her.
She continues to read his manuscript about two friends, Rumi and Sham and learns about their Dervish ways of life, which a part of Islam. Does the relationship between Ella and Aziz go any further? Does Ella’s perception of life change at all? Read The Forty rules of love to know further.
Book review of The Forty rules of love
As I was telling earlier, I tried so hard to like The Forty rules of love but I was left disappointed. And for once it was not because of my high expectations or the hype. I just failed to understand the whole point of the rules of love and completely disliked the preachy tone and wonder if it had anything to do with the translation or it was just the writing itself.
I wish it had a little bit lightheartedness in it to make it more fun to read. There were too many small characters to remember but I can understand why they were needed, to educate every rule. I still wish the characters had more depth, while they were all card board cut – the non religious were all evil and the religious ones were all love and simple.
Things that worked for me
- I loved the way the author had mixed in Turkish culture and history to the story.
- The ideology behind the rules for the love to God and one another was novel and interesting (to a point).
- Reading this story has increased my interest in reading the poems of Rumi which are well known.
Things that didn’t work for me
- I wish the characters were more complex and deeper.
- I didn’t like the moral, preachy tones that made it difficult to like the characters.
- To be fair I have never had a thing for magical realism. Maybe I don’t get it well enough to appreciate it.
I am happy for all those for whom this book worked. But it didn’t for me, I understand why didn’t work for me. I might give the author another try, in a few years and maybe it will work then. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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Sometimes you take too long to complete a book and then you don’t want to attempt to capture your feelings about it – because you are sure you are not going to do a justice to it. What makes it harder is that you are not quite familiar with the genre. Yes that is what ‘Songs of the Mist’ did to me – rather has been doing to me – yet am giving an attempt.
Book Name: Songs of the Mist: Volume 1 (The Monk Key Series)
Genre: Fiction – Spiritual
Characters: Ashutosh, Ayan, Vasudha, Calliope, Kyaka, the Monk
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author free of cost in return for an honest review.
Five persons from different walks of life and world take a journey of their lifetime to meet a Monk at the Himalayan range. They almost have nothing in common except their thirst to try to seek and learn what they know not about life. No, this has not much to about their pain and suffering (there is), as their paths and destiny towards the Himalaya in search of the elusive Monk.
I was comparing our TBR piles with a friend of mine and he mentioned about the book that he had recently and how much he enjoyed it, adding that it would not be my cup of tea at all yet that I should give it a chance some day “when I grow up” (yup that is what he said). That irked me as well as perked up my curiosity, and ended up listening to him going gaga over ‘Songs Of the Mist’, and this happened to be, just a day or two after I received the book for review. Needless to say, the subject handled is not at all my forte or even something that I might wonder into during one of my lost trail of thoughts. Yet here I am doing the same thing that ‘the’ friend did to me – going gaga about it to people who may not even venture out to these kinda books.
Remember, when you read or I made you read “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” before it became the ‘cool’ book? People who said me this was similar to it, you are wrong, this book is lot more than that. I should warn you, this is not an easy read. This is not the book you can read on a dentist waiting room (I tried doing that) nor a book that you would want to breeze through to increase your reading count. But you have to read it – if you had questions that were too cool to ask your parents or those answers you smirk at when they give you. It is a really hard book to get hooked to at least in the first few pages and then out of nowhere you seemed to be nodding without realizing you are.
I am pushing off writing what I really liked about the book. Shashi’s writing style and clarity of thoughts. His language held my attention in a book which has such a serious subject, too many descriptive sentences for my liking and a not so fast moving story. Just when you were about to skip a line or so, (only because novels these days requires not more than a speed reading, am not sorry to say that) he just grabs the attention with something so off your balance that you are nodding your head to glory, once again.
Here those few lines that I had to share because they resonated with my line of thoughts.
Never worry about the path. Just take care of the steps you take.
Don’t grieve for desires that are not fulfilled. Sometimes the things that don’t happen keep disasters from happening too.
Passion focuses your mind to one thing that you are doing and leaves no space for something else to enter
This book would be an interesting read if you want to read about not so mundane questions that you can’t ask others, like ‘why we draw a circle of water around the plate before we eat?(pariseshanam – I think)’ or ‘why would anyone want to live at such harsh living conditions near Himalayas?. It would be a sure read if you were among the ones that discuss and think about self realization or worry what we do here – go read his book and go have a chat with the author, right then. If you don’t fall in either of the categories, and you are anything like me – just go read for his language, nuances and attention to minutest detail, and for once – the crisp edit, even if the genre is not your cuppa tea.
P.S I hadn’t known until I almost finished my review that the brilliant editing was from our very own CBC’s Mahesh and Nandhitha. Kudos to you, guys – super proud.