AFP – Six months after being stabbed, British author Salman Rushdie today publishes his new novel Victory City, an “epic tale” of a 14th-Century woman who defies a patriarchal world to rule a city. Written before the United States (US) knife attack that nearly took the Indian-born author’s life, the novel purports to be a translation of a historical epic originally written in Sanskrit.
The much-anticipated work tells the tale of young orphan girl Pampa Kampana who is endowed by a goddess with magical powers and found the city, in modern-day India, of Bisnaga, which translates as Victory City.
Rushdie, 75, will not promote his 15th novel due to his physical condition, although his agent Andrew Wylie told The Guardian that his “recovery is progressing”. He was attacked as he was about to speak at a conference in Chautauqua in upstate New York, near Lake Erie, on August 12. The author had lived in hiding for years.
The stabbing suspect, Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey with roots in Lebanon, was arrested immediately after the attack and subsequently pleaded not guilty to the charges. Rushdie, a naturalised American who has lived in New York for 20 years, lost the sight in one eye and the use of one hand, Wylie said in October.
While not personally promoting the book, Rushdie has begun to communicate via social network Twitter, most often to share press reviews of his new novel.
Several events are also planned to accompany its release, including a conference with writers Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman that will be broadcast online.
An icon of free speech since he was forced into hiding, Rushdie is still an outspoken defender of the power of words. The book tells the tale of Pampa Kampana’s creation of a city and of its downfall.
The novel concludes with the statement: “Words are the only victors.”
Born in Mumbai in 1947, Rushdie published his first novel Grimus in 1975.