THE NERVOUS SYSTEM OF THE BOOK

I came across this great quotation over the weekend by Colm Tóibín, a writer I love. He’s just won the Hawthornden Prize for literature:

“You can do anything you like as a novelist at the level of the sentence but what you can’t control is the nervous system of the book, its emotional connection. The only person who can do that is the reader.”

I love the idea of a book having a nervous system but does the reader really control it? As a reader or a writer what do you think?