This is a notion I want to toss out here before I forget it.
As I was having a look at some of the science links Ellimist sent my way (thanks, by the way), I ran across this discussion of echo and reverberation. It struck me--and I know people in the sciences tend to hate this sort of thing--that the differences between the two could, metaphorically, describe Johnny's changing relationship to The Navidson Record: initially, he hears echoes (just as many, many of us have and have posted on here); as he becomes engrossed in--"closer to"--the text, that relationship turns into reverberation: a sound bigger on the inside than on the outside. The physics site says you have to be less than 17 meters from the sound-reflecting surface to get reverberation; Johnny, as we know, gets to within 1/4". Exactly.
Surely someone has posted on this or on something similar, I thought. To the Search Function I go, and in this thread, I found this observation by the long-missing (and sorely-missed) MoleculaRR:
No doubt others have said the same thing in different ways. And I know Johnny himself has much to say about this as well, both directly and indirectly. But here, just now, I want to note that the relationship between echo and reverberation is something like, in the relationship between reader and text, that between "escapism" and delusion.Similarly, perhaps we are both haunting and haunted by the book. Peter Schwenger in Fantasm and Fiction writes about reading as vampirism. To be fair, he's quoting someone else whose name I can't recall, but the point is that being engrossed in a book is like being overcome by a vampire which we are also parasitically feeding upon. The point was made much more elegantly than that, but I think the basic idea is there.