Now for some (mostly) good news: Salman Rushdie, the legendary novelist who was stabbed multiple times on Friday, is on the mend, even if he’s still not completely out of the woods. Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, told CNN on Sunday that he’s “off the ventilator, so the road to recovery has begun.” He added, “It will be long — the injuries are severe. But his condition is headed in the right direction.”
Rushdie’s son Zafar also confirmed the good news, saying his father “remain in critical condition” but that after he was taken off the ventilator he “was able to say a few words.” He added that despite his “severe” injuries, “his usual feisty & defiant sense of humour remains intact.”
On Friday morning, Rushdie, 75, was preparing to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in southwestern New York State when a man leaped on stage and stabbed him repeatedly, including in the neck and the stomach. A trooper intervened. The assailant was later identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey. Matar has pleaded not guilty.
As per CNN, Rushdie’s injuries include “three stab wounds to the right side of the front of his neck, four stab wounds to his stomach, puncture wounds to his right eye and chest, and a laceration on his right thigh.” He was airlifted to a hospital in nearby Erie, Pennsylvania.
In 1989, a fatwa ordering for Rushdie’s execution was declared by Ayatollah Kholmeni, then the Supreme leader of Iran over what was seen as blasphemous depictions of Islam in his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses. Rushdie spent years in hiding under police protection and even survived a failed assassination attempt in 1989. In 1998, the fatwa was deemed “finished” but it was never formally lifted.
By the late ‘90s, Rushdie began returning to something like a normal-ish life, re-entering the social scene, even weighing in on pop culture. His fatwa even inspired an entire season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is much better than the 1991 Pakistani movie that depicts him as some kind of supervillain.
We wish Mr. Rushdie a speedy recovery.