Sanette Speaks Out Against Imaging...

Sanette, an acute observer of her own and her family's reading strategies, is in effect supporting the position taken by William Gass: to image in great detail and vividly is a kind of madness; moreover, one will be all day about it. She hearily agrees with Gass that characters in fiction are -- indeed, should be -- mostly empty canvas. L'Amour is a great writer, she says, because he does not burden the reader with description: the hero rides through thick brush, the Indians are silhouetted against the horizon, no more, and the reader, using a ready-made store of images, at once sees the whole picture -- mistily, perhaps, but well enough.

Nell, p. 246

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