Salman Rushdie says he feels lucky and grateful in his first interview since stabbing | Salman Rushdie

Speaking for the first time since being stabbed at a New York literary event last year, author Salman Rushdie said he was lucky and grateful to have survived the attack.

“I’m lucky,” Rushdie said in an interview The New Yorker published Monday. “What I really mean is that my main overwhelming feeling is gratitude.”

Rushdie, 75, was stabbed in the neck and chest while speaking on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York on August 12, 2022 about the importance for America of granting asylum to exiled writers.

The author – who spent years in hiding and long endured death threats for his book The Satanic Verses – was hospitalized for six weeks, and lost sight in one eye and the use of a ‘a hand.

Authorities arrested Hadi Matar, 24, in connection with the assassination attempt that also injured the conference moderator, and charged the suspect with attempted second-degree murder and attempted second assault. degree. He pleaded not guilty.

Matar is believed to have attempted to execute the fatwa – or ruling – the late Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued on Rushdie’s life after many Muslims found Satanic verses to be blasphemous in his representation of the prophet Muhammad.

In the New Yorker interview conducted by fellow author David Remnick, Rushdie said he blamed Matar solely for the stabbings.

“I pity himRushdie told Remnick when asked who was responsible for an assassination attempt on an Indian-British author who had spent years in police protection after the fatwa was issued. but who moved more openly after moving to the United States.

Rushdie refused to blame security officials during the conversation where he was stabbed. The site did not have walk-through or rod metal detectors to screen members of the public for weapons. Instead, security checks would have been limited to checking tickets and preventing people from bringing in food or drink.

“I tried very hard over those years to avoid recriminations and bitterness,” Rushdie said. “I just think it’s not pretty. One of the ways I’ve dealt with all of this is to look forward, not backward. What happens tomorrow is more important than what happened yesterday.

Rushdie also spoke with Remnick about his gratitude to first responders in Western New York and doctors in nearby Erie, Pennsylvania, who treated his injuries and saved his life. “At some point, I’d like to go up there and say thank you,” Rushdie said.

He also said his adult sons Zafar and Milan – who live in London – and his wife, poet and novelist Rachel Eliza Griffiths, have been instrumental in his physical and mental recovery.

Rushdie said Griffiths in particular had to deal with the doctors and nurses treating him as well as law enforcement officials trying to bring his would-be killer to justice.

“She kind of took over at a time when I was helpless,” Rushdie said. “She took care of everything, in addition to having the emotional burden that I was almost killed.”

He said his “big wounds are healed, for the most part”, and that he had regained sensation in his thumb, index finger and lower half of his palm after undergoing “lots of… therapy” on his hand affected.

He added that it was difficult for him to do a lot of writing because some of his fingers lacked sensitivity.

“I’m able to walk around,” Rushdie told Remnick. “I mean, there are parts of my body that need constant checks. It was a colossal attack.

Rushdie also said, “I’ve been better. But, considering what happened, I’m not that bad.

Rushdie’s interview with Remnick was posted days before the Feb. 9 release date for his new novel Victory City. The novelist’s agent, Andrew Wylie, said Rushdie “would not be making any public appearances to promote his upcoming novel” as he continues to recover from the stab wounds.

Rushdie presents Victory City as an abridged translation of a fictional Sanskrit verse saga that has long been buried in the ground in a jar but is now told by a humble narrator.

He finished the novel before his stab wound. He told Remnick that he hoped readers would be drawn to the book on its own merits and not simply because of what it had survived.

“I’ve always tried very hard not to take on the role of a victim,” Rushdie said. “So you’re just sitting there saying, ‘Someone stuck a knife in me! Poor me’… Which I think sometimes!

“But what I don’t think is: that’s what I want people reading the book to think. I want them to be captured by the tale, to be carried away.

theguardian Gt

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