Salman Rushdie lost sight in one eye and the use of one hand after he was brutally stabbed in the neck during a literary event in upstate New York two months ago, his agent said.
The 75-year-old author, whose novel The Satanic Verses has prompted calls for his death, was stabbed in the neck and torso as he walked on stage to deliver a speech at the Chautauqua Institution on August 12.
The extent of Rushdie’s injuries have been unknown until Saturday, when his agent Andrew Wylie gave an update on his condition in an interview with the Spanish newspaper, El País.
“[His wounds] were profound, but he’s [also] lost the sight of one eye,” said Wylie. “He had three serious wounds in his neck. One hand is incapacitated because the nerves in his arm were cut. And he has about 15 more wounds in his chest and torso. So, it was a brutal attack.”
The agent declined to say whether Rushdie is still being treated at the hospital, but said the important thing is that the world-famous author will survive.
Wylie noted that the possibility of the attack was something he and Salman had discussed in the past.
“I think the attack was probably something that Salman and I have discussed in the past, which was that the principal danger that he faced so many years after the fatwa was imposed is from a random person coming out of nowhere and attacking [him],’ Wylie said.
“So, you can’t protect against that because it’s totally unexpected and illogical. It was like John Lennon’s murder,” he added.
A New Jersey man identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar was arrested in connection to Rusdie’s stabbing. He pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder and assault charges in August.
New York State Police said Rushdie was about to begin his scheduled lecture when Matar charged the stage with a knife in hand, stabbing the British author in the neck and the torso.
Rushdie spent nearly a decade in hiding after The Satanic Verses, was published, as the novel is considered blasphemous by some. A religious edict calling Muslims to kill him was issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian leader, just a year after his book was published.