Months after being stabbed repeatedly as he prepared to give a lecture, Salman Rushdie is blind in his right eye, struggles to write and, at times, has “frightening” nightmares.
But, he said during his first interview since the attack, he still has a feeling of gratitude.
“Well, you know, I’ve been better,” he told The New Yorker’s David Remnick during an interview published Monday. “But, considering what happened, I’m not so bad.”
“The big injuries are healed, essentially,” Rushdie went on to describe. “I have feeling in my thumb and index finger and in the bottom half of the palm. I’m doing a lot of hand therapy, and I’m told that I’m doing very well.”
Remnick, who spoke with Rushdie both in person at his agent’s office in Manhattan and via Zoom, wrote that the Booker Prize-winning author had lost more than 40 pounds (18 kilograms) and mostly reads through an iPad so he can adjust the lighting and font size.
“There is scar tissue on the right side of his face,” Remnick wrote. “He speaks as fluently as ever, but his lower lip droops on one side. The ulnar nerve in his left hand was badly damaged.”
Rushdie, 75, lived in hiding for years after Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for his death because of the alleged blasphemy of the novel “The Satanic Verses.”
But he had long since moved about freely, with minimal security, and did not feel any sense of risk last August about appearing at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat center in western New York.