Salman Rushdie has lost an eye as well as the use of one of his hands due to severe nerve damage in his arms, his literary agent Andrew Wylie told Spanish newspaper El País.
Wylie opened up about the extent of the 75-year-old author’s grievous injuries from an attempt on his life this past August in which he was stabbed 15 times in his neck and torso.
“[His wounds] were profound,” Wylie said. “It was a brutal attack.” Although Wylie couldn’t say whether or not Rushdie was still in the hospital, he did say, “He’s going to live…That’s the more important thing.
Rushdie has been under constant threat of violence since releasing “The Satanic Verses” in 1989, a book that prompted Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa against him with a $3 million bounty. Wylie told El Pais that he and Rushdie have had many talks over the years about how the fatwa could lead to an attack against him at any moment.
“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].”
Rushdie was stabbed repeatedly in Chatauqua, New York, just before he was set to give a lecture on artistic freedom. A 24-year-old suspect has been arrested in relation to the attack and has pled not guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and assault.
In the El País interview, Wylie spoke of the recent banning of “Maus,” the acclaimed graphic novel written by another one of his clients, Art Spiegelman in some U.S. schools. He called the ban “ludicrous” and “shameful,” connecting it to the rising wave of right-wing nationalism worldwide.
“A sort of fundamentalist right is on the rise…half the country seems to think that Joe Biden stole the election from Donald Trump. And they admire this man who is not only completely incompetent and a liar and a crook, but just a farce. It’s ridiculous,” he said.