This is what people mean when they talk about the fusion of style and substance. Here's a character we've only just met, on page 13 of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections: the elderly Alfred Lambert, sufferer from Parkinson's Disease, is standing in his bedroom, wondering why the dresser drawers are open and whether he opened them himself, when his wife suddenly appears in the doorway and asks him what he's doing.
Look at the control of grammar, punctuation, metaphor, interiority and free-association linear and non-linear that are all going on simultaneously in this marathon sentence. And think how many pages of careful characterisation a less skilled writer would have to produce to convey the same amount of information about Alfred Lambert: his age, his health, his wife Enid, his anxieties, his personal history and his much-disquieted and foggy state of mind.
'He began a sentence: "I am --" but when he was taken by surprise, every sentence became an adventure in the woods; as soon as he could no longer see the light of the clearing from which he'd entered, he would realize that the crumbs he'd dropped for bearings had been eaten by birds, silent deft darting things which he couldn't quite see in the darkness but which were so numerous and swarming in their hunger that it seemed as if they were the darkness, as if the darkness weren't uniform, weren't an absence of light but a teeming and corpuscular thing, and indeed when as a studious teenager he'd encountered the word 'crepuscular' in McKay's Treasury of English Verse, the corpuscles of biology had bled into his understanding of the word, so that for his entire adult life he'd seen in twilight a corpuscularity, as of the graininess of the high-speed film necessary for photography under conditions of low ambient light, as of a kind of sinister decay; and hence the panic of a man betrayed deep in the woods whose darkness was the darkness of starlings blotting out the sunset or black ants storming a dead opossum, a darkness that didn't just exist but actively consumed the bearings that he'd sensibly established for himself, lest he be lost; but in the instant of realizing he was lost, time became marvelously slow and he discovered hitherto unguessed eternities in the space between one word and the next, or rather he became trapped in that space between words and could only stand and watch as time sped on without him, the thoughtless boyish part of him crashing on out of sight blindly through the woods while he, trapped, the grownup Al, watched in oddly impersonal suspense to see if the panic-stricken little boy might, despite no longer knowing where he was or at what point he'd entered the woods of this sentence, still manage to blunder into the clearing where Enid was waiting for him, unaware of any woods -- "packing my suitcase," he heard himself say.'