Salman Rushdie's 'Knife' explores his violent stabbing and is remarkable in its vitality.  

New York — Salman Rushdie's first novel since the 2022 stabbing that hospitalized him and left him blind in one eye quickly revisits the day he feared was his last.  

In the memoir "Knife," released Tuesday, Rushdie writes, “At a quarter to eleven on August 12, 2022, on a sunny Friday morning in upstate New York, I was attacked and almost killed by a young man with a knife just after I came out on stage at the amphitheater in Chautauqua to talk about the importance of keeping writers safe from harm  

Rushdie, one of the most passionate and broad contemporary novels, wrote “Knife” in just over 200 pages. “Knife” is his first memoir since “Joseph Anton,” a 2012 book on Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's fatwa, the death decree, issued more than 20 years earlier for Rushdie's novel "The Satanic Verses"'s alleged blasphemy.

Rushdie was forced into hiding and protected for years. He had been enjoying his chosen life of travel, social interaction, and a free imagination in recent works like “Quichotte” and “Victory City” since the threat had seemingly faded.  

Rushdie writes in “Knife,” subtitled “Meditations After an Attempted Murder,” that he sometimes saw his “public assassin” appearing. The 2022 attack was surprising and "anachronistic," like a "murderous ghost from the past" returning to settle a dispute Rushdie thought was settled. He calls August 11, 2022, his “last innocent evening.”

However, “Knife” is as famous for its spirit as for its forthright and horrific account of the attack that did, and did not, transform his life.  

Rushdie calls Chautauqua Institution event moderator Henry Reese's physical fortitude in grabbing the attacker "pure heroism" in the book's first chapter. If heroism is optimism, determination, and humor after pain, then “Knife” is a heroic novel about Rushdie's journey from lying in his own blood to returning to the same stage 13 months later and finding “wounded happiness.”  

File: Random House's cover of Salman Rushdie's "Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder" About his life attempt that left him blind in his right eye, the book will be published April 16, 2024. Rushdie's first work since the 2022 stabbing he believed would kill him is vivid in its savagery and brave in its resolve to live.   

LOVE AND WEDDING “Knife” shows that Rushdie's life is more than homicidal brutality, even after two years. He writes a chapter on meeting and marrying poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths, who welcomed him at a 2017 PEN America event with a "dazzling smile" Rushdie could not forget. After learning of the stabbing in New York City, she rushed on a private plane to be with him, knowing he was unlikely to survive. “I wasn’t dead,” Rushdie wrote. “I had surgery.”  

FRIEND DEPARTED Rushdie discovered his longtime friend and fellow novelist Martin Amis had terminal cancer after recovering. UK talented friends included Rushdie, Amis, Christopher Hitchens, and Ian McEwan. Rushdie's departure email complimented Amis' “generosity and kindness” following the knife attack and lauded “London Fields” and “Money.”  

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