Canadian readers may doubt that they can learn anything new about winter from The Facts of Winter (McSweeney’s), a book that is faux in many ways. The afterword is a faux biography by Paul La Farge, an American “translator,” of the book’s purported author, Paul Poissel, whom the reader quickly begins to suspect is also faux. La Farge describes how he came to translate Poissel’s slim book, which claims to be a collection of dreams recorded by people in and around Paris during the winter of 1881. I use words like claims and purported in describing The Facts of Winter because I soon came to mistrust everything about it. The “dreams” themselves are very slight—some just a single paragraph long—and they are printed in facing-page “translation”; in one “a woman about twenty-five years old dreams that she has grown a long brown beard”; in another “a young worker, Anna Chaumont, dreams that she is dancing with a child in Mr. Revillon’s fur factory.” There are suggestions of Nabokov’s Pale Fire; there are hints of Borges and Paul Auster; there are more than a few traces of the French surrealists; but for me there were too many layers of misdirection and invention veiling the heart of this literary bonbon, and I found that, by the time I’d made my way to its centre, there was very little there.