Cover image for Chasing Rumi : a fable about finding the heart's true desire
Chasing Rumi : a fable about finding the heart's true desire
Housden, Roger.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, [2002]

Physical Description:
139 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Library
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Inspired by the poetry of Rumi, the great Sufi mystic, a restless young man heads out on an epic voyage of the heart that takes him from the hills of Florence to the mosques of Konya, Turkey, and into the heart of religious mysticism.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The best-selling author of Ten Poems to Change Your Life (2001) provides a fantastical account of one young man's intimate journey of discovery. Moved beyond all practical reason by a poem penned by Rumi, a thirteenth-century mystic, Georgiou, a Greek icon painter residing in Florence, is inspired to undertake a pilgrimage to Konya, Turkey, the city where the lines were written that touched his heart. During the course of his odyssey, Georgiou experiences visions, encounters a number of eccentric spiritual guides, and develops as both an artist and a human being. When Georgiou finally arrives in Konya, his soul is awakened by a deceptively simple discovery. His restless mind and inner being finally at peace, Georgiou is ready to accept the greatest gift life has to offer: unconditional love. Lyrically written, this surrealistic affirmation of life and love will enthrall and inspire readers seeking spiritual nourishment. --Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Housden (Ten Poems to Change Your Life) adds a mystical twist to a young man's search for love in this spare, allegorical tale of a Greek icon painter living in 1950s Italy who makes a pilgrimage to the tomb of 13th-century Sufi poet Jelaluddin Rumi. Aesthete Georgiou loves art and beauty, but is frustrated by his inability to find a worthy love in his native Florence. Dazzled by a book of Rumi's poems, Georgiou hopes that a journey to the poet's tomb at Konya, Turkey, will teach him something about love. His meandering trip takes him to a monastery in Meteora, Greece; to the shrine of Delphi, where he has a vision of the Virgin Mary, who poses a riddle that holds the key to his quest; and to other sites in Greece and Turkey, where he meets Orthodox priests, mystics, sheikhs and dervishes who teach him that romance between a man and a woman is not the only kind of love there is, and that accumulating knowledge doesn't necessarily help one to experience or understand love. Housden is a graceful storyteller and he offers an offbeat look at the relationship between divine love and earthly romantic love. Unfortunately, he tends to slip into treacly, bland affirmations ("All is already well. Listen to what your heart tells you, and you cannot stray far"), and the tidy, happily-ever-after ending belies some of the complicated questions about spirituality and self-knowledge that are raised through Georgiou's quest. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Chasing Rumi A Fable About Finding the Heart's True Desire Chapter One Georgiou ran lightly, two steps at a time, up the worn marble stairs that lead to the Museo San Marco in Florence. It was an afternoon of steady light in the summer of his eighteenth year. At the top of the stairs he paused for a moment, aware suddenly of that museum flavor-the high, arched ceilings, the faint odor of polish from a dark wooden floor, the cool touch of the handrail, a brass one, that accompanied the stairs. The museum had once been a monastery, and in the fifteenth century Fra Angelico, the great Renaissance painter, had been a monk there. One of his duties had been to adorn each of the monks' cells with a fresco. When Georgiou turned to face the entrance to the monks' dormitory, his eyes met the glow of a delicate radiance. Through the open archway, like an apparition, The Annunciation, Fra Angelico's masterpiece, shone down on him from a large stone wall. In seconds, his natural exuberance gave way to a mood more sober and thoughtful. Something in the flowing grace of the angel Gabriel's robe-or perhaps it was the reverence the angel and the Virgin showed in inclining toward each other-checked his youthful step and drew his attention inward. A few moments there at the top of the stairs, and he started along the corridor, moving slowly now. He peered round the first couple of arched doors into the small, whitewashed rooms, pausing briefly to take in the frescoes that the master had painted for the monks' contemplation. When he came to the next door, he stepped inside the cell. There, painted directly onto the dry surface of the wall, was the fresco depicting the Sermon on the Mount. The disciples were gathered in contemplation round Jesus. He was sitting a little above them on a stylized rock washed in a soft yellow that glowed on the wall of the cell. Christ's right arm was raised, his forefinger pointing to heaven. Georgiou stood in front of the painting entranced-by the luminous tones, lavender and green, of the disciples' robes, the remarkable simplicity of the drawing, but above all by the look on the faces of the disciples. They were filled with a rapture he had never known existed; a tangible sweetness of love, which was both of this world and not of it at the same time. Their expression seemed to show a love for Jesus, the man, and also for something else that could never be put into words. His legs began to tremble, his back turned cold. The thoughts in Georgiou's mind ebbed away. Unable to take his eyes from those beautiful faces, he fell into a deep silence. His strength failed him, and he sank slowly to the floor. How long he sat there, lost in the masterpiece, he had no idea. When he finally got to his feet he knew, though not with his ordinary mind, that he had been filled with the love that makes the world. Chasing Rumi A Fable About Finding the Heart's True Desire . Copyright © by Roger Housden. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Chasing Rumi: A Fable about Finding the Heart's True Desire by Roger Housden All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.