While cycling through the western states, a disillusioned American questions the meaning of existence after confronting the ghost of his former, uninstitutionalized self.
Robert Pirsig's journey to enlightenment on the back of a motorcycle was rejected 121 times before its publication in 1974. ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE immediately hit the best-seller lists, and, even decades later, it remains a cult classic. A combination of travelogue, philosophical tract, gripping novel, and probing memoir, ZEN encompasses both Eastern and Western thought in an exploration of the concept of "Quality"--what it means and how to achieve it. Pirsig's method involves an examination of self: who are we, how did we get where we are, and what is worth striving for? In a readable, often enchanting narrative, he attempts to answer these questions, first for himself, as he travels back into his life and scrutinizes his own experiences, and then for the reader, who is on his or her own quest for meaning. Pirsig's book, both intimately personal and powerfully universal, is in the end a book about how to live. But seen solely as the chronicle of a cross-country trip, ZEN is equally appealing. As the narrator and his 11-year-old son, Chris, travel the roads in all moods and all weathers, he describes, with humor and warmth, his interactions with Chris, and the boy's responses to everything from firecrackers to the sound of rain on a tent roof to a massive bull moose in Montana--and a deep and solid father-son relationship begins to emerge. In a heartbreaking Afterword written in 1984, Pirsig describes Chris's murder in San Francisco, in 1979, at the age of 22, and the decision he and his wife made to have another child--a little girl named Nell. After his initial grief, Pirsig refuses to sink into mourning for his son," and writes, "Chris's body was gone. But the larger pattern remained."
- Philosophy, Psychology
- General, Emotions, Eastern / General
- May 1, 2006
- May 1, 2006
- Robert M. Pirsig