The Dissertation

The Dissertation

Tinieblas Book Two

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781468301182
  • 448 Pages
  • Overlook Books
  • 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.


“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

“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