Rushdie speaks of ‘crazy dreams’ about knife attack in New York

'I have a very good therapist who has a lot of work to do', Rushdie said.
Last Updated : 13 July 2023, 09:33 IST

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Salman Rushdie has spoken for the first time about having “crazy dreams” following the near-fatal knife attack on him in New York in August last year, which has left the Mumbai-born author blind in one eye, and working with a therapist to help him process the mental impact of the trauma.

The 76-year-old Booker Prize-winning author was on stage almost a year ago when he was stabbed up to 10 times by the suspect Hadi Matar, who is being held in prison for attempted murder.

Speaking to the BBC this week, Rushdie said he was in "two minds" about whether to face his alleged attacker, who has pleaded not guilty, in court.

"I have a very good therapist who has a lot of work to do. I have crazy dreams," the British-American novelist said.

"If he changes his plea to guilty then actually there's not a trial, there's just a sentencing, and it may well be that then my presence isn't required. I'm in two minds about it. There's one bit of me that actually wants to go and stand on the court and look at him and there's another bit of me that just can't be bothered.

"I don't have a very high opinion of him. And I think what is important to me now is that you're able to find life continuing. I'm more engaged with the business of, you know, getting on with it," he said when asked if he plans to attend Matar’s trial later this year.

The injuries from the attack resulted in damage to his liver, loss of vision in one eye and a paralysed hand caused by nerve damage to his arm.

"The human body has an amazing capacity to heal. And so I'm fortunate to be well on that way," said the author of Midnight’s Children who says he feels physically “more or less OK”.

He was put on a ventilator and spent six weeks in hospital after being stabbed up to 10 times.

Rushdie is now writing a book about the near-fatal stabbing incident as a means of processing what he has been through. In the virtual interview, he told the BBC it won't be more than a "couple of hundred pages" long.

"There's this colossal elephant in the room and, until I deal with that, it is difficult to take seriously anything else," he noted.

The British American author, who lives in New York, has been the subject of a fatwa by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini for his controversial novel The Satanic Verses issued over 30 years ago and has had several death threats over that time.

His latest book, Victory City, was finished just before the attack in August last year and has been well-received by critics.

Published 13 July 2023, 09:33 IST

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