Postmodernist metafictional writing, by reflecting on itself, that is, by showing how it is structured, how it has come into being, openly displays its artificial character [...] In doing so, these works expressly deny that they are trying to project a reality by offering a credible story. These metafictional texts pierce their own illusionary reality (and thereby, that of other pieces of fiction) by revealing the artificiality that underlies it. Such a text, writes Waugh, 'lays bare its rules in order to investigate the relation of "fiction" to "reality", the concept of "pretence"'. '[I]t systematically disturbs the air of reality by foregrounding the ontological structure of texts and of fictional worlds,' writes McHale: 'we are left facing the words on the page: this happens again and again in postmodernist writing, [...] our attention is distracted from the projected world and made to fix on its linguistic medium'. This 'disturbance' of the 'air of reality' is meant to contribute to an awareness of the fact that what we regard, outside literary texts, as our normal, unproblematic everyday reality, is likewise a fictional, artificial construct. McHale speaks of 'destabilizing the ontology of this projected world and simultaneously laying bare the process of work construction'.
The reflexive-ironic nature of postmodernist metafiction is clear: its essential operation is a constant ironic self-distancing through the self-conscious unveiling of its own structures. This strategy has an idealistic purpose: it wants to unmask the illusions that we regard as reality.
so this irony is aimed at liberation, and is important and necessary in its own right, but you need something afterwards!