i have a million things to say and no idea how to say them. don't think i can formulate an actual review, but a few things i want to take note of right now
-this book fucked me up in a way that nothing of the medium has in memory. the concept is already scary enough and the medium is utilized to the fullest to convey each part. the descents into the house are terrifying but there are two other things that come to mind. one is the very concept of the minotaur, the ominous red strikethrough, how it remains entirely enigmatic and no tangible explanation is given. if i had to give a guess as to its inclusion i'd wager it has something to do with johnny and his heritage, but i'll delve further into that later. the other is the letters from johnny's mother. those later letters are some of the most disturbing things i've ever read, especially once the book's signature typographic quirks are used.
-i have a plethora of theories but the one that intrigues me most is the idea of pelafina writing the entire novel while at whalestoe. my theory is that it spawns from her grief over johnny's death (two possible details about johnny's childhood support that), especially if she caused it herself. zampano could be representative of johnny's father - one idea that came to mind is pelafina cheating on her husband with this zampano parallel, rendering johnny a sort of bastard (minotaur theory ahem) child and the entire novel a sort of letter to johnny's father in itself. that explains the pelafina/karen parallels, the often haphazard style and inconsistencies of the book, and perhaps how johnny's nightmares mirror pelafina's choking of him - although that was likely just intended to convey the longstanding trauma. i wish i'd thoroughly read the letters before the novel, it makes johnny a much more compelling figure.
-something about this novel feels so distinctly... evil, even in the more positive interpretations of it. even after finishing the novel the dread still lingers, and i don't think it will dissipate for ages.
-the house in itself can be seen as a sort of rorschach test, and i believe the same goes for the novel per se. some people interpret this as a horror novel, a simple academic satire, or even a love story. i am finding myself very conflicted as to how i interpret this but there's a very personal story at the heart of both the navidson record and johnny's escapades, tedious as i sometimes found the latter. speaking of which, that may be the only thing which keeps me from proclaiming this my favourite novel. that and the amount of content i feel i may have missed the point on. this is such a dense work, and even still i feel kind of overwhelmed. but i don't know, i think it very well could be the best thing i've had the honour of reading.
oh also! this marks the end of my reading goal for 2023, a measly twelve books. we're not even halfway through may so i obviously underestimated myself a bit, but i really wasn't expecting to get back into reading the way i have recently. new goal is a tentative thirty novels, but if i am going to tackle pynchon, joyce, mccarthy, etc as i'm planning to the goal may reduce due to difficulty of the material.