In If on a winter's night a traveler, Italo Calvino addresses the concept of a false book. In the novel, the mastermind behind the "apochrypha conspiracy" intended to rid the world of truth, Ermes Marana has books published under false titles, attributed to different authors, with chapters missing, etc., in an attempt to disillusion the woman he admires with reading, which she will always value above his affections.
In broaching this issue, Calvino implies that there is such a thing as a real book: one which is written by the purported author and which contains the intended text. These books, in fact, are no more real than Marana's substitutions.
When reading a novel, any reader must take certain things for granted. The most important of these is the sincerity of the author. If a character does something unexpected the reader must assume that the action can be interpreted to reveal greater insight into the character's mind/personality. The following situation demonstrates how ingrained this assumption is in the reader's consciousness.
Suppose the narrator of a story were to say, "Mary was kind and gentle. She had never had an urge to be violent in her life." But on the following page, Mary mows down a hundred suburbanites in a shopping mall with a machine gun. The reader of such a text would be likely to induce one of two things. Either something in Mary snapped, i.e. she lost her senses, or the narrator, if the narrator was a viable character, was incorrect or dishonest in his or her estimation of Mary's personality. A third possibility, which is concealed by the aforementioned assumption is that the author was bored with the character or the story and wanted to bring in some action.
While a significant part of the art of fiction-writing lies in the skill to create, develop, and understand different characters, it is somehow always dishonest to introduce a character other than oneself. Every person has an impression of the personality of others, and some insight into how their mind functions, but nobody is ever able to entirely predict another's actions or points-of-view. In developing a character, an author falsely claims this ability, explicitly or implicitly.
Bakhtin submits that Dostoevsky was often surprised by his characters' actions. A character would do something that he had not intended the character to do. There is some honesty in having the character behave as he would if he were a real person with the personality given him by the author. Nevertheless, the character is not a real person and the personality is imposed by the author. It is impossible for an author to create a character with a fully developed personality different from the author's own for the very reason that the author knows no personality with the completeness that he or she knows his or her own, the completeness necessary to understand what the character would do in any given situation, to make the character "authentic."