Knife

Knife

Meditations After an Attempted Murder

About the Book

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie, a searing, deeply personal account of enduring—and surviving—an attempt on his life thirty years after the fatwa that was ordered against him
 
On the morning of August 12, 2022, Salman Rushdie was standing onstage at the Chautauqua Institution, preparing to give a lecture on the importance of keeping writers safe from harm, when a man in black—black clothes, black mask—rushed down the aisle toward him, wielding a knife. His first thought: So it’s you. Here you are.

What followed was a horrific act of violence that shook the literary world and beyond. Now, for the first time, and in unforgettable detail, Rushdie relives the traumatic events of that day and its aftermath, as well as his journey toward physical recovery and the healing that was made possible by the love and support of his wife, Eliza, his family, his army of doctors and physical therapists, and his community of readers worldwide.

Knife is Rushdie at the peak of his powers, writing with urgency, with gravity, with unflinching honesty. It is also a deeply moving reminder of literature’s capacity to make sense of the unthinkable, an intimate and life-affirming meditation on life, loss, love, art—and finding the strength to stand up again.
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Praise for Knife

“Candid, plain-spoken and gripping . . . Knife is a clarifying book. It reminds us of the threats the free world faces. It reminds us of the things worth fighting for.”The New York Times

“Knife isn’t so much about pondering imminent death than it is an affirmation—an insistence—on returning to life.”San Francisco Chronicle

“The subject—the idea for which Rushdie nearly died—is the freedom to say what he wants . . . Rushdie survived, but he has too many scars to be certain that the idea will. This book is his way of fighting back.”The Atlantic

“A brave and beautiful book that tells his story with a cathartic relish, no gruesome detail spared . . . this book is as much a love letter to his wife—the poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths—as it is a punch-back at his assailant.”The Wall Street Journal

Salman Rushdie’s memoir is horrific, upsetting—and a masterpiece . . . Knife is a tour-de-force, in which the great novelist takes his brutal near-murder and spins it into a majestic essay on art, pain and love . . . full of Rushdie’s wit, his wisdom, his stoicism, his optimism, his love of all culture.”Daily Telegraph
 
Knife is in part about—and in some sense itself is—a battle between the two most prominent Rushdies: Great Writer and Great Man, artist and advocate, private person and public figure . . . Contains some of the most precise, chilling prose of his career.”Vulture

Not just a candid and fearless book but—against all odds—a defiantly witty one . . . A ‘reckoning’, if not quite a catharsis, Rushdie’s invigorating dispatch from (almost) the far side of death’s door names and limits the attack as ‘a large red ink blot.’”The Financial Times

“Rushdie’s triumph is not to be other: despite his terrible injuries and the threat he still lives under, he remains incorrigibly himself, as passionate as ever about art and free speech.”—The Guardian

Knife is testament to Rushdie’s convictions and to the sustaining power of love as he focuses on the suffering and support of his family and his wife, writer and artist Rachel Eliza Griffiths, during this ordeal . . . every electrifying page elicits tears and awe.”Booklist

“A graceful meditation on life and death that captures Rushdie at his most observant and lyrical.”Kirkus
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About the Author

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is the author of fifteen previous novels, including Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, and Quichotte, all of which have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize; a collection of stories, East, West; a memoir, Joseph Anton; a work of reportage, The Jaguar Smile; and three collections of essays, most recently Languages of Truth. His many awards include the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, which he won twice; the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award; the National Arts Award; the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger; the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature; the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature; and the Italian Premio Grinzane Cavour. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. He is a former president of PEN America and the recipient of the PEN Centenary Courage Award. His books have been translated into over forty languages. In 2023, he was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year. More by Salman Rushdie
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