Another of Strand's annoying affectations is what might be called the fallacy of faux detail. This is an all-too-common failing among nonfiction writers who misunderstand a technique they've appropriated from the New Journalists. In the latter's hands, carefully observed and telling details were allowed to accumulate into scenes that both evoked the places of which their narrative nonfiction was constructed and lent the reportage a crucial credibility. The point was that the details themselves were significant and, taken together, added up to more than the sum of their parts.
Here, on the other hand, is part of Strand's re-creation of her visit with the head of the Tuscarora tribe's environment program. The tribe, one of two constituents of the Iroquois nation who occupy land in and around Niagara (the Seneca are the other), lost thousands of acres of land when Robert Moses seized it to excavate a reservoir as part of the New York Power Authority's expansion of hydroelectric generation on the river. "We sit at a round table that holds a bowl of apples, a quarter of a Wegmans chocolate cake and a bottle of 7-Up."