Sir Salman Rushdie has lost sight in one eye and the use of a hand as he recovers from an attack by a man who rushed the stage at a literary event in August, according to his agent.
Literary agent Andrew Wylie told the Spanish language newspaper El Pais that the author suffered three serious wounds to his neck and 15 more wounds to his chest and torso in the attack that took away the sight in one eye and left a hand incapacitated.
Sir Salman, 75, spent years in hiding after Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 edict, a fatwa, calling for his death after publication of his novel The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims consider blasphemous. Over the past two decades, Sir Salman has travelled freely.
Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, has been in custody after pleading not guilty to attempted murder and assault in the August 12 attack on Sir Salman as he was being introduced at the Chautauqua Institution, a rurally located centre 55 miles south-west of Buffalo that is known for its summertime lecture series.
After the attack, Sir Salman was treated at a Pennsylvania hospital, where he was briefly put on a ventilator to recover from what Mr Wylie told El Pais was a “brutal attack” that cut nerves to one arm.
Mr Wylie told the newspaper he could not say whether Sir Salman remained in a hospital or discuss his whereabouts.
“He’s going to live … that’s the important thing,” he said.
The attack was along the lines of what Sir Salman and his agent thought was the “principal danger … a random person coming out of nowhere and attacking”, Mr Wylie told El Pais.
“So you can’t protect against it because it’s totally unexpected and illogical,” he said.
Mr Wylie told the newspaper it was like John Lennon’s murder. Lennon was shot by Mark Chapman outside his Manhattan apartment building December 8, 1980, hours after the singer had signed an autograph for Chapman.
In a prison interview with The New York Post, Matar said he disliked Sir Salman and praised Khomeini. Iran has denied involvement in the attack.