To literary critic Scott Russell Sanders contemporary fiction "seems barren in part because it draws such tiny, cautious circles, in part because it pretends that nothing lies behind its timid boundaries. Such fiction treats some 'little human morality play' as the whole of reality and never turns outward to acknowledge the 'wilderness raging round.'" When we enter a new novel, Sanders says, we generally enter a room––a kitchen, bedroom, barroom, office––where characters talk. Absent, as much by innocent oversight as by choice, are the non-human contexts acting as forces on the events in the rooms. However "realistic" such fiction pretends to be, it is, Sanders says, "profoundly false, and therefore pathological." (See Michigan Quarterly Review, Fall, 1987).