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What can studying novelistic description teach us about the allure of modes of reading falling within the descriptive turn, specifically, surface reading, new materialist ecocriticism, and computational analysis? This article's analysis of the paradoxes of description—specifically, its ability to evoke while revoking—in McCarthy's Blood Meridian (1985), Sinha's Animal's People (2007), and Smith's White Teeth (2000) explains an apparent tension between data and materiality in these trending literary critical approaches. It details the evoke-revoke paradox of description and offers it as an analytic for understanding the ontological status of the reader and more-than-human things in methods captured by the descriptive turn. Ultimately, it shows how literary form and critical practices together give us traction on the demands fiction makes on readers and how the ascendancy of Web 2.0 mirrors those demands through its pull between materiality and data.