The Dissertation

The Dissertation

Tinieblas Book Two

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781468301182
  • 448  Pages
  • Adult


The second book in R.M. Koster’s highly acclaimed Tinieblas trilogy (following The Prince), The Dissertation is the story of–and a story by–Camilo Fuertes. To fulfill his Ph.D. requirement, Fuertes decides to write about his father, the martyred president of Tinieblas, a country in Latin America. We follow Leon as he winds his twisted path through delinquency, learning, bravery, and incest to the presidency. At once a powerful vision of Latin American history and a brilliant parody of the academic form–complete with endnotes!–The Dissertation is an essential postmodern novel in the tradition of Vonnegut, Barth and Nabokov, ready to be embraced by a new generation of readers.


“It gave me a lot of pleasure. As with Pale Fire, it’s the [end]notes I cherish and will read and reread.” –Anthony Burgess

“One of the few books of the past 20 years that deserves to be called astonishing. It is a brilliant novel, structurally a marvel and, in all, a demonstration of elan as that quality seldom is experienced in a work of fiction.” –Des Moines Sunday Register
“A careful fake is better than the truth,
according to fictional Banana Republic
president León Fuertes, and so it is with
Koster’s 1975 novel masquerading as a
doctoral dissertation, reissued after four
decades and still fresh, funny, and disturbingly
relevant. Brooklyn, N.Y.–born, Ivy League–
educated, longtime Panama resident Koster
portrays Latin America with a comedian’s
sense of timing, a scholar’s sense of history,
and a native’s fond despair.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
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