Monday, February 22, 2010

THE FORY RULES OF LOVE: A Novel of Rumi by Elif Shafak

As one long familiar and passionate about Sufism and familiar with Rumi, I was delighted at the prospect of a Rumi inspired novel and happily pre-ordered the book. I should have been more patient and waited to see the  Publishers Weekly review. It's spot on in its assessment of this novel as "a mediocre work of hen lit." This is a light work of ladies romance based very thinly on the persons of Rumi and Shams. As per the PW review, it is also the story of the most remarkably uninteresting housewife I have ever encountered in the pages of a book. But then, I don't generally read books about housewives and their lives. The title is misleading, as half the book, every other chapter, is the tepid narrative of her failing contemporary marriage to a dentist. That says it all. But the language used for 14th century Turkish characters is straight out of a high school in 2010. I can't remember the last time I have been so shocked. Romance readers who like a little Orientalism lite peppered into their stories of sad housewives might enjoy this. If you have a preexisting interest in Sufism, scholarly or mystical, Islam, Rumi, or anything else falsely advertised in the title of this book, just read the PW review and know that it's highly accurate.