Salman Rushdie talked to New Yorker editor David Remnick in his first interview since being critically injured in a stabbing attack last August in Chautauqua, New York.

The publication of the profile comes one day before the release of his latest novel, Victory City. In a starred review, a critic for Kirkus called the book “a grand entertainment, in a tale with many strands, by an ascended master of modern legends.”

Remnick writes that he was startled by Rushdie’s appearance when he met him at the office of Andrew Wylie, the author’s longtime friend and editor. “He has lost more than forty pounds since the stabbing. The right lens of his eyeglasses is blacked over.…There is scar tissue on the right side of his face. He speaks as fluently as ever, but his lower lip droops on one side.”

When asked about his mood, Rushdie told Remnick that he’s “been better.”

“But, considering what happened, I’m not so bad,” the author said. “As you can see, the big injuries are healed, essentially. I have feeling in my thumb and index finger and in the bottom half of the palm. I’m doing a lot of hand therapy, and I’m told that I’m doing very well.”

Rushdie commented on the psychological toll of the attack.

“There is such a thing as P.T.S.D., you know,” he said. “I’ve found it very, very difficult to write. I sit down to write, and nothing happens. I write, but it’s a combination of blankness and junk, stuff that I write and that I delete the next day. I’m not out of that forest yet, really.”

Nonetheless, Rushdie said he was grateful to the first responders who saved his life.

“I’m lucky,” he said. “What I really want to say is that my main overwhelming feeling is gratitude.”

Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.