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On Salman Rushdie’s new memoir ‘Knife’ : NPR



On Salman Rushdie's new memoir 'Knife' : NPR

Creator Salman Rushdie on the annual gala of PEN America on Might 18, 2023.

Ted Shaffrey/AP

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Ted Shaffrey/AP

Creator Salman Rushdie on the annual gala of PEN America on Might 18, 2023.

Ted Shaffrey/AP

On August 12, 2022, famed writer Salman Rushdie was stabbed. He was on stage on the Chautauqua Establishment in western New York, about to offer a chat “concerning the significance of protecting writers secure from hurt,” Rushdie writes in his new memoir, Knife: Meditations After an Tried Homicide.

Rushdie, the 76-year-old author of The Satanic Verses, Midnight’s Kids, Victory Metropolis, and extra, survived the assault. However not with out some lasting scars, together with being blind in a single eye. Because the assault, he is carried out a handful of interviews right here and there, however he is saved largely to himself. In Knife, he particulars all the pieces that is been occurring in his life and in his head for the reason that assault. He talks concerning the restoration course of, the assist he acquired from family members, and his emotions about his alleged attacker, Hadi Matar.

Cover of Knife
Cover of Knife

Matar is in custody at Chautauqua County Jail, being charged with second-degree tried homicide and second-degree assault. The decide in his case really postponed Matar’s trial after Rushdie introduced his memoir, with a purpose to give Matar’s attorneys a chance to see what’s contained in the ebook.

The ebook is out Tuesday. Here is what you may count on from it:

1. Rushdie has little interest in re-litigating The Satanic Verses

Rushdie solely makes a number of mentions of his 1988 ebook that led the supreme chief of Iran on the time to name for Rushdie’s demise. And, Rushdie notes in Knife, it wasn’t simply the Muslim world criticizing Rushdie for writing the ebook. He calls out different names, together with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the writers Roald Dahl and Germaine Greer. Apart from that, Rushdie writes that he is mentioned all the pieces he is wanted to say about Satanic Verses in his earlier memoir, Joseph Anton.” If anybody’s in search of regret, you may cease studying proper right here,” he writes in Knife. “My novels can care for themselves.”

2. The ebook is about freedom of speech, notably aimed on the left

Rushdie as an alternative saves his argumentative power to make an attraction for freedom of speech – a perfect, he believes, progressives and the left have left behind to their detriment. “This transfer away from First Modification rules allowed that venerable piece of Structure to be co-opted by the best,” he writes. Rushdie had an extended background in free speech advocacy. He is the previous president of PEN America, the literary rights advocacy group, and co-founded that group’s World Voices Competition. His first public look after being attacked was at a PEN Gala in his honor. And, if something, the assault has solely furthered his positions. “Artwork just isn’t a luxurious. It stands on the essence of our humanity, and it asks for no particular safety besides the best to exist,” he writes.

3. It is also a ebook about marriage

In 2021, Rushdie quietly married the poet and novelist Rachel Eliza Griffiths. Rushdie is tender when he writes concerning the early days of their relationship, saying he was not in search of romance. “After which it got here up behind me and whacked me behind the ear and I used to be powerless to withstand.”

It is Griffiths who helps Rushdie by way of the numerous physician visits, bodily remedy appointments, sleepless nights, thriller illnesses and piling payments (a sub-takeaway might be, not even world-famous authors can keep away from shock medical payments), all whereas tending to her personal writing profession. There are robust moments that they should undergo collectively within the ebook, however there are additionally common moments that might be scenes from some other marriage.

4. He tries to know his attacker

Rushdie by no means refers to Matar by title within the ebook. And he maintains a sure distance from him. There is a fast occasion within the memoir the place Rushdie toys with the thought of reaching out to Matar, however he rapidly decides that is a foul thought. As a substitute, Rushdie chooses a unique path to understanding Matar that we cannot spoil right here. However it’s an train in deep empathy – one which appears to assist Rushdie discover a minimum of just a little little bit of closure.

5. There is a attainable documentary on the way in which.

Early on within the ebook, Rushdie and Griffiths start filming Rushdie’s ideas. The plan appears to be to take all of the footage and produce it to an skilled filmmaker, who can form it into one thing. However there have been no bulletins made on that entrance but.

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