Sir Salman Rushdie, 76, has spoken for the first time in harrowing detail about his memories of the attack two years ago in which he was stabbed on stage. The Indian-born British-American author told the BBC that his eye was stuck in his face “like a soft-boiled egg” and that the loss of the eye “shocks him every day.” In his new book “Knife”, which will be published worldwide on April 16th, he deals with the attacker.

“I remember thinking I was going to die,” the 76-year-old told the BBC. Luckily he was wrong. In August 2022, the writer was attacked on stage at an educational institute in upstate New York while preparing to give a lecture. Rushdie recalled seeing the attacker “sprinting up the stairs.” The man suddenly stabbed him twelve times, including in the neck and abdomen. “I couldn’t have defended myself. I couldn’t have run away from him.” Salman Rushdie said he fell to the ground where he lay with “a spectacular amount of blood” around him. He thought of “ridiculous” things at that moment. So he was worried that his Ralph Lauren suit would be ruined and that his house keys might get lost.

Rushdie’s liver and hands were damaged and the nerves in his right eye were severed. He had to be treated in hospital for six weeks. His eye looked “very bloated and swollen,” he said. “It was kind of hanging out of my face, sitting on my cheek, like a soft-boiled egg.” The loss of his right eyesight bothers him every day. For example, he has to be more careful when walking up stairs or crossing a street. But he considers himself lucky that he did not suffer any brain damage. “It meant I was still able to be myself.”

The author also said that he had previously considered that one day someone might “jump out of the audience.” “It would of course have been absurd if that hadn’t occurred to me.” Only two days before the fateful event he had a “nightmare” about an attack and was therefore on the verge of canceling it. “And then I thought, you know, it’s a dream. And besides, they pay me pretty well. Everyone bought tickets. I should go.”

The moderator of the event, Henry Reese, also thinks a lot about the drama: “You have the feeling that if you had acted faster, a lot of things could have been prevented,” admitted Henry Reese in an interview with the BBC. But in his new book “Knife,” the writer thanks Reese and all the people who helped him that day. “The book is simply dedicated to the men and women who saved my life,” it says on the first page.

In “Knife” he has a fictional conversation with his alleged attacker, Hadi Matar (26) from New Jersey. He has not yet spoken to him in real life, but he could face him in the trial expected in the fall. The trial was delayed because the defendant’s lawyers demanded that Rushdie’s book be examined. It could serve as evidence. Matar has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.