Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenanceabracad, · Categories: books, purpose, reviews
From the vast collective literary output of mankind very few works are worthy of the epithet classic. Robert Pirsig's 1974 semi-autobiographical(?) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZMM) is one of the few - a true modern classic.
Essentially ZMM consists of three distinct but interwoven stories. Superficially it is a travelogue, about a man - the un-named narrator - motorcycling across the United States with his somewhat troubled son, Chris; for the first part of the journey they are joined by friends, the couple John and Sylvia Sutherland. It is also the story of a man haunted by a "ghost", that turns out to be his former self. Finally, as suggested by the subtitle, An Inquiry Into Values, ZMM is a discussion on philosophy inspired by the cultural upheaval of the time (epitomized by the counter-culture and hippie scenes) concluding that a re-discovery of quality is the key to the re-harmonization of an increasingly dichotomous society. (more…)