"Inside me I'm screaming, nobody pays any attention. If I had arms, I could kill myself. If I had legs, I could run away. If I had a voice, I could talk and be some kind of company for myself. I could yell for help, but nobody would help me."
"He's not keeping the organs as souvenirs, Doctor. He's eating them."
"He did not know what love was. And he did not know what good it was. But he knew he carried with him, a scabrous spot of rot, of contagion, for which there was no cure. Rage would not cure it. Indulgence made it worse, flamed it, made it grow like cancer. And it had ruined his life."
"At times, feeling the wind in my brow, I went numb with horror. In my imagination I saw armies of ants and cockroaches calling to one another and scurrying toward my head, to some place under the top of my skull, where they would build new nests. There they would proliferate and eat out my thoughts, one after another, until I would become as empty as the shell of a pumpkin from which all the fruit had been scraped out."
"My mother had been liberally dosed with cocaine, amphetamines, and arsenic during her ovulation and throughout her pregnancy with me. It was a disappointment when I emerged with such commonplace deformities. My albinism is the regular pink-eyed variety and my hump, though pronounced, is not remarkable in size or shape as humps go . . . Still, my parents noted that I had a strong voice and decided I might be an appropriate shill and talker for the business. A bald albino hunchback seemed the right enticement toward the esoteric talents of the rest of the family. The dwarfism, which was very apparent by my third birthday, came as a pleasant surprise to the patient pair and increased my value. From the beginning I slept in the built-in cupboard beneath the sink in the family living van, and had a collection of exotic sunglasses to shield my sensitive eyes."
"Yes, terrible things happen, but sometimes those terrible things—they save you."
"Squatting on old bones and excrement and rusty iron, in a white blaze of heat, a panorama of naked idiots stretches to the horizon. Complete silence—their speech centers are destroyed—except for the crackle of sparks and the popping of singed flesh as they apply electrodes up and down the spine. White smoke of burning flesh hangs in the motionless air. A group of children have tied an idiot to a post with barbed wire and built a fire between his legs and stand watching with bestial curiosity as the flames lick his thighs. His flesh jerks in the fire with insect agony."
"This crime made me mad. And often my best writing is often done out of anger . . . It's a little bit of a bully pulpit to be able to write an entertaining, or at least a gripping story about that kind of thing, and move the reader through that labyrinth of nastiness. And to contrast that with what's good and possible in life." —Jack Ketchum
"All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. I still, though, hold on to one single bleak truth: no one is safe, nothing is redeemed."
"I don't think of the last pages of Last Exit as being strange; I don't know what the hell they are talking about. Never having gone to school, I didn't know you weren't supposed to do that. I had read people like Celine and Genet and I didn't know you weren't supposed to do that; they did it. There was nothing new here—Homer did it—nothing new as far as I can tell." —Hubert Selby, Jr.
Top 10 List Courtesy of Art Spackle