I recently grabbed this book by sheer coincidence, I was waiting for a friend when I started reading this great master piece and 20 pages in I was hooked. I could not put it down even for a minute. I loved the writing; the book is a Novel within a novel. Set in two different timelines, two different cultures but sharing a basic component of defying conformity and taking on risks, going into unchartered waters of love and romance.
The books look at the life of Ella Rubenstein as an ordinary unhappy housewife with three children and unfaithful husband. She takes a chance at living gain when she finds a job as a reader at a literary agency. Her first assignment is a novel about a poet Rumi and the Sufi Shams of Tabriz, the name of the book is sweet blasphemy. As she begins to read the book, she becomes curious about the author Aziz who is not well known. Out of curiosity she writes an email which turns into a stimulating connection. She begins to question about her obligation in an unhappy marriage.
Sweet blasphemy introduces us to the travelling dervish Shams of Tarbiz, an incendiary who questions conservative wisdom and religious practices. He is traveling in search of a companion who he is expected to teach. He meets Rumi a beloved preacher and turns his life upside down. He is determined to turn Rumi into a poet. Rumi’s family and Community is not happy about unsettlement within their life and decide to take action.
It will be Spoiler alert if I go beyond that,
Both Rumi and Ella, despite being centuries apart, they are forced to question their current believes and practices; and begin to abandon their safety net for adventure, ambiguity and ecstasy of love. Neither Shams or Aziz can offer anything like the promise of lasting happiness; They can only offer the taste of a mystical union , divine love , the deep accord that arises when the false self-constructed to meet society’s demands for respectability .
Shams of Tarbiz shares the famous forty rules of love which is the embodiment of Sufi Wisdom. He repeatedly defies social and religious conventions, putting himself in the line of danger and drawing scorn and wrath of the self-righteous, closeminded moralists.
While Aziz influences Ella to look beyond her marriage, Shamz of Tarbiz Influences Rumi to become one of the world’s greatest poets and voices of wisdom. The novel has a few unexpected plot twists, you can call it nostalgic, but it is definitely a great read.