these words leapt from the throat of the novel

I was seated in a clean, high-tech restaurant very different from Saigon, the Vietnamese restaurant two floors beneath my loft on Grand Street. … Bare white walls instead of painted palm fronds, pink linen tablecloths with laundry creases. The waiter handed me a long stiff folded white menu printed with the restaurant’s name, L’Imprime. I opened the menu and saw Human Hand listed among Les Viandes. Human hand, I thought, that’ll be interesting, and when the waiter returned, I ordered it. It came almost immediately, two large, red, neatly severed hands covered with what looked more like the rind of a ham than skin. Nothing else was on the white disc of the plate. I cut a section from the base of the left hand’s thumb and put it in my mouth. It seemed a little undercooked. Then the sickening realization that I was chewing a piece of a hand struck me, and I gagged and spat it out into my pink napkin. I shoved the plate across the table and hoped that the waiter would not notice that I did not have the stomach for this meal.

— Peter Straub, The Throat, 2010, New York, Anchor Books, p. 48

It is as though some old part of yourself wakes up in you, terrified, useless in the life you have, its skills and habits destructive but intact, and what is left of the present you, the person you have become, wilts and shrivels in sadness or despair: the person you have become is only a thin shell over this other, more electric and endangered self. The strongest, the least digested parts of your experience can rise up and put you back where you were when they occurred; all the rest of you stands back and weeps.

— Ibid., 51

The world is full of ghosts, and some of them are still people.

— Ibid., p. 75

In heaven we lose our characters in the perpetual glorification of God, but in hell we continue to be ourselves.

— Ibid., pp. 191-2

The Minotaur would be like a fearsome God hidden at the bottom of a deep cave, his traces and effects scattered everywhere through the visible world.

— Ibid., p. 219

Know what I believe in? Seeing and not seeing. Understanding and ignorance. Imagination and absence of imagination. … I’ve just compressed at least sixty years of reflection. Did it make any sense?

Guess again. There’s a lot more to it.

— Ibid., p. 233

… there is another world, and it’s this world.

— Ibid., p. 237