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  • Published: 16 April 2024
  • ISBN: 9781787334809
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $36.99


Meditations After an Attempted Murder

A moving and life-affirming memoir about survival and the power of love to heal, from internationally renowned writer Salman Rushdie

A moving and life-affirming memoir about survival and the power of love to heal, from internationally renowned writer Salman Rushdie

‘A story of hatred defeated by love’ Guardian
‘Absolutely stunning…the ugliest thing turned into the most beautiful’ Nigella Lawson
‘Part thriller, part love story’ The Times
‘A masterpiece… full of Rushdie’s wit, his wisdom, his stoicism, his optimism’ The Telegraph

On the morning of 12 August 2022, Salman Rushdie was standing onstage at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York, 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 towards 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 world. Now, for the first time, Rushdie relives the traumatic events of that day and its aftermath, as well as his journey towards 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 writing with urgency, gravity, and unflinching honesty. It is also a deeply moving reminder of literature’s capacity to make sense of the unthinkable.

This an intimate and life-affirming meditation on life, loss, love, art – and finding the strength to stand up again.

  • Published: 16 April 2024
  • ISBN: 9781787334809
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $36.99

About the author

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie is the author of fourteen previous novels, including Midnight's Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), The Satanic Verses, and Quichotte (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize). A former president of PEN American Center, Rushdie was knighted in 2007 for services to literature and was made a Companion of Honour in the Queen's last Birthday Honours list in 2022.

Also by Salman Rushdie

See all

Praise for Knife

Knife is a clarifying book. It reminds us of the threats the free world faces. It reminds us of the things worth fighting for. Rushdie’s friend Christopher Hitchens, in the wake of the initial fatwa, eloquently explained the stakes. The affair drew a line between "everything I hated versus everything I loved," he wrote. "In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual and the defense of free expression." His words apply to this book.

New York Times

With both candour and rich detail, and reminding us again of his knack for storytelling, Knife celebrates art and love over violence, resilience over acquiescence

i, *Books to Look Out for 2024*

Salman Rushdie’s memoir is horrific, upsetting – and a masterpieceKnife 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 from the so-called "high" to the so-called "low".

Erica Wagner, Daily Telegraph

Although the account of his violent ordeal is dramatic…the book is also a nuanced meditation on life, death, the importance of art, and the chilling daily reality of violence... the book fulfils his aim to take charge of what happened on that terrible day and "to answer violence with art"

Martin Chilton, The Independent

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... At one point he quotes Martin Amis: "When you publish a book, you either get away with it, or you don’t." He has more than got away with this one. It’s scary but heartwarming, a story of hatred defeated by love.

Blake Morrison, The Guardian

Knife is a rich, immersive, feisty account of [Rushdie's] journey through darkness back to the light. Part thriller, part love story, part celebration of literature, it’s an incandescent book full of hair-raising descriptions of hard-won survival and beautiful, philosophical passages about art, freedom and resilienceRushdie has not just enlarged literature’s capacities, he has expanded the world’s imaginative possibilities — and he has paid a tremendous price for it. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

Johanna Thomas Corr, The Times

Rushdie has never written quite as directly as this, or emotionally. He emerges as stoic, droll, and astonishingly brave. "There are moments when these events are painful to set down," he says. They’re painful to read, too, but necessary. As simple testimony, it makes for an incredibly compelling reading experience. The aim of the attack was ultimately to silence him. The aim failed. Salman Rushdie is a writer. The pen proved mightier than the sword after all.

Nick Duerden, i news

Brave and compelling… Knife isn’t only Rushdie’s finest book in years, it’s also his most enjoyable

Daily Mail, *Book of the Week*

A surprisingly tender and redemptive story


Sir Salman Rushdie is a genius - only he could turn his stabbing into art... This is a brave book by a brave man. Bravo, Salman Rushdie

Evening Standard

[A] profoundly life-affirming memoir… [but this] book should… shake us from our complacencies… [and] renew our resolve to confront and defeat the forces that led a young man to plunge a knife into an artist. Rushdie has done us a great service in writing this book. It is up to us now to heed its message

New Statesman

[An] extraordinary new book about the attempt on his life… People should certainly read this book… Rushdie’s light is undimmed


Salman Rushdie has turned the horrific attack on him into a masterpiece… Knife is a heroic, unflinching and immersive account of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of an attempted murder


[In Knife] Salman Rushdie remains as bold and direct as ever in defence of free speech


A searingly honest account… the power of love, resilience and his extraordinary way with words shines through. The result is a powerful and poignant read

UK Press Syndication

Knife is a heroic book

Hillel Italie, Independent

A deeply moving account of this devastating attack and its consequences

Jewish Chronicle

One of the most remarkable works he has written in his fifty-year career… simultaneously harrowing and heartening… This book stands out among them [memoirs] for its combination of bravery and bravura

Times Literary Supplement

After reading Knife, it is impossible to feel despair. On the contrary: Rushdie’s irrepressible ebullience is an inspiration and a wake-up call… [a] magnificent book


Powerful and moving… Knife is a profound meditation on Rushdie’s life, on art, and second chances

Islington Tribune

Knife is a fascinating, challenging, and ultimately hope-filled book

Church Times

[A] remarkable book… Elegantly and poignantly executed, it also brings a wry and witty touch to a horrific story. A testament to the power of literature

Financial Times, *Books of 2024*

An astonishingly moving and defiant memoir

Irvine Welsh, Observer, *Summer Reads of 2024*

A visceral tale of a man on the brink of death

Mail on Sunday, *Summer Reads of 2024*