Scholars, crawford's going to ask you to read this amazing story (first page below). Here's a quote by Steven Millhauser, the author, from an interview in Failbetter that might give you some insight into the story:
Q: What continues to attract you to messing with reality?
A: I mess with reality in the name of reality. Another way of putting it is that I don’t mess with reality. I mess with the assumption that reality is perfectly captured by middle-of-the-road realist fiction. I’d argue that the conventions of the realist story don’t begin to do justice to the blazing thing that deserves the name of reality.