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Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenanceby Mark Richardson
Synopses & Reviews
Zen and Now is a vivid chronicle of a journalist’s heartfelt and determined journey to reconnect with a beloved American classic.
In 1968, Robert Pirsig and his eleven-year-old son, Chris, made the cross-country motorcycle trip that would become the inspiration for Pirsig’s book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a powerful blend of personal narrative and philosophical investigation that has inspired generations.
Among the millions of readers to fall under the book’s spell was Mark Richardson, who as a young man struggled to understand Pirsig’s provocative and elusive ideas. Rereading the book decades later, Richardson, now a journalist and a father of two, was moved by its portrayal of Pirsig’s complex relationship with Chris and struck by the timelessness of its lessons. So he tuned up his old Suzuki dirt bike and became a “Pirsig pilgrim,” one of the legion of fans who retrace the Pirsigs’ route from Minneapolis to San Francisco. In following this itinerary over the lonely byways of the American West, Richardson revisits the people and places from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, pondering the meaning of Pirsig’s philosophy and the answers it may offer to the questions in his own life. Richardson’s dogged reporting also gives new insight into the reclusive writer’s life, exploring Pirsig’s struggle with mental illness, his unwanted celebrity, and the tragic, brutal murder of Chris in 1979.
Published to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of Pirsig’s original trip, Zen and Now is a stirring meditation on a classic work and a passionate inquiry into the lessons it continues to teach us in the complex and bewildering world we inhabit today.
A journalist recounts his odyssey retracing the cross-country motorcycle trip taken by Robert Pirsig and his son, Chris, that inspired the classic philosophical narrative Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, detailing his journey from Minneapolis to San Francisco as he encountered many of the people and places that inspired the original work. 40,000 first printing.
Part travelogue, part meditation on an author and his work, Zen and Now is a tribute to a beloved American book and the landscape that inspired it.
Since it was firstpublished in 1974, Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has become a modern classic, a beautifully constructed blend of travel narrative and philosophical inquiry that has moved generationsof readers. One of those readers was journalistMarkRichardson, who after rediscovering the book at middle age, decided to retrace Pirsig's journey. Fromthe back of his own motorcycle, Richardson investigates whathappened to the reclusive Pirsig, his family, and the people described in the book in the years after its surprising success.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Mark Richardson is a motorcycle and auto editor and writer for the Toronto Star.
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