“I had never thought about how people would react if I was assassinated, or almost assassinated,” Salman Rushdie told David Remnick during an interview for a profile in The New Yorker. The novelist was speaking to the media for the first time since he was stabbed several times by a man named Hadi Matar during a public appearance on August 12, 2022.
The attack left Rushdie blinded in his right eye, and with injuries in his hand that have made it difficult for him to type or even writer. He was only “just beginning to feel the return of the juices”, he told Remnick.
The profile was accompanied by a dramatic photograph of Rushdie’s with an eyepatch. Rushdie posted a photograph of his on social media soon afterwards (above), accompanying it with the wry caption: “The photo in The New Yorker is dramatic and powerful but this is what I actually look like.”
Rushdie’s interview coincides with the publication of his latest novel, Victory City, which has already been lauded by several reviewers as one of his finest works in recent times.
“It hurts. 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.”
Without understating the impact of the attempted assassination, Rushdie nevertheless steered the conversation towards the present, especially to his new novel.
“And to be able to come here to talk about literature, talk about books, to talk about this novel, Victory City, to be able to talk about the thing that most matters to me . . .”