This enchanting story, set in the late 1950s, takes us from the hills and piazzas of Florence to the green domed mosques of Konya, Turkey. Upon discovering a poem by the thirteenth-century Sufi dervish Rumi, Georgiou, a young Greek icon painter, is compelled to travel to the land that this poet called home. Inspired by Rumi’s magical words, Georgiou leaves his father and their small business in hopes of recapturing the transcendent power of an early childhood vision.
Through encounters with Christian and Islamic mystics, and guided by forces he cannot name, Georgiou gradually learns to follow his own heart. The closer he gets to Konya and to Rumi’s tomb, the more in awe he becomes at the workings of fate. But it is only when Georgiou returns to Florence that his life changes forever in an experience that reveals the mystery of life and love.
In the tradition of The Alchemist and Siddartha, Chasing Rumi is a spellbinding and enduring story for all.
” Lyrically written, this surrealistic affirmation of life and love will enthrall and inspire readers seeking spiritual nourishment.” – Margaret Flanagan, Booklist
“Housden’s prose is quietly elegant, sparse yet lyrical–perfect for this love letter to a master poet.” – NAPRA”A jewel of a book. Both delicious and simple, Chasing Rumi has all the makings of a classic.” – Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
“Housden 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.” – Publishers Weekly