The novelist of Indian origin, naturalized American and who lives in New York, speaks in an interview with the newspaper of American cultural elites, The New Yorker, on the eve of the release in the United States of his latest novel, "Victory City", the "epic story of a woman" in the 14th century who will erect a city, suffer exile and threats in a patriarchal world.
Completed before the violent attack of several stab wounds on August 12, 2022 in the northern United States, which left him seriously injured, this novel is presented as the translation of the historical epic of Pampa Kampana, a young orphan endowed with magical powers by a goddess, who will create the city of Bisnaga, literally Victory City.
But, confides the 75-year-old intellectual, who has lived since 1989 under the threat of death from a fatwa issued by Iran, "I found it very, very difficult to write; I sit down to write and it nothing happens; I write, but it's a mixture of emptiness and nonsense, things that I write and erase the next day".
"I'm not out of the woods yet," Rushdie whispers to one of The New Yorker's executives, journalist and writer David Remnick.
"PTSD exists, you know," adds the author, using the acronym for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The writer will not do any promotion for this 15th novel, which comes out on Tuesday in the United States and Thursday in the United Kingdom, his agent Andrew Wylie told The Guardian newspaper last week, even if his recovery is progressing since the attack. which nearly cost him his life.
A young American of Lebanese origin suspected of being sympathizers with Shiite Iran threw himself on him armed with a knife when the author of "Satanic Verses" was about to speak at a conference in Chautauqua, a small cultural and bucolic retirement town in upstate New York, near Great Lake Erie.
Rushdie, who had resumed a life in society in recent years in New York, lost the sight of one eye and the use of one hand following the attack, Mr. Wylie announced in the fall.
The author had not spoken since the summer, apart from a few tweets promoting his novel.
"I've known better but seeing what happened, I'm not doing so badly," he concludes, adding "to hold (his attacker) responsible" for his state of health.
© 2023 AFP