WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THE AUTHOR AND A READER'S GUIDE Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance caused a sensation when it was first published in ...Show synopsisWITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THE AUTHOR AND A READER'S GUIDE Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance caused a sensation when it was first published in 1974.The story of the narrator, his son Chris and their month-long motorcycle odyssey from Minnesota to California profoundly affected an entire generation.Both personal and philosophical, this book is a compelling study of relationships, values, madness and, eventually, enlightenment.Hide synopsis
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In this book, Pirsig challenges American universities and the origins of western thought (Plato & Aristotle); arguably he tears the mansion of western thought down to its foundation. As he searches for "quality" his journey takes him to insanity and beyond. Similar to Thoreau's Walden, this book is dense and a slow read; the subject matter is not light. This book is a key point in both American Literature and American Thought. Oh, did I mention that his philosophical journey is paralleled by a motorcycle trip the narrator is taking with his young son?
A great book, Pirsig is a decent writer and a transcendent thinker.
I first read this book as a recent college graduate when it came out in the 70's. I understood less of it then than I think I understand now. It is compelling for the author's internal dialogue and honesty. Pirsig traces his life's journey, including the management of mental illness, his troubled children, his rocky marriage, and his struggle with his life work, by analogy to the joys and mishaps of riding across the American Northwest on his motorcyle. He rarely, if ever, mentions Zen, which is the best way for the reader to experience it, but Zen is the energizing power behind his story telling and the philosophical framework of the quest. I have re-read it now at least a half dozen times. As I have grown older it has clarified more and more of my own quests and joys in work, family, spiritual questions and answers. It has been central in framing my view of reality. The first edition copy I found on Alibris is nearly perfect and is a treasure in my library. I recommend this work as a classic, and as a friend to return to every few years. It is worth the intellectual stretch it may take to grasp the author's philosophical dialogue. I would love to be able to encounter it for the first time again.
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