Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (Hardcover)
Few books transform a generation and then establish themselves as touchstones for the generations that follow. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one such book. Years in the writing and rejected by 121 publishers, this modern epic of a man's search for meaning became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974. Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, it continues to inspire millions of readers. This 25th Anniversary Edition features a penetrating new Introduction by Robert Pirsig, in which he reveals his original intention about the book's controversial ending, as well as important typographical changes reflecting his ideas.
An autobiography of the mind and body, the book is a narration of a motorcycle trip taken by a father and his eleven-year-old son; a summer junket that confronts mortal truths on the journey of life. As the miles pass, the mind expands, and the narrator's tale covers many topics, from motorcycle maintenance itself through a search for how to live, an inquiry into "what is best," and the creation of a philosophical system reconciling science, religion, and humanism.
Unwanted and unbidden is the narrator's confrontation with a ghost: his former self, a brilliant man whose search for truth drove him to madness and death. This ghost, Phaedrus, haunts the narrator as he and his son visit places where they once lived. And, too, he confronts his deteriorating relationship with his son, who has himself been diagnosed as suffering the beginning symptoms of mental illness.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance speaks directly to the confusions and agonies of existence. In his intimate detailing of a personal and philosophical odyssey, Robert M. Pirsig has written a touching, painful, and ultimately transcendent book of life.
About the Author
Robert M. Pirsig (1928-2017) studied chemistry and philosophy (B.A., 1950) and journalism (M.A., 1958) at the University of Minnesota and also attended Benares Hindu University in India, where he studied Oriental philosophy. He is also the author of this book's sequel, entitled Lila.
“An unforgettable trip.”
“The book is inspired, original. . . . The analogies with Moby-Dick are patent.”
— The New Yorker
“Profoundly important...full of insights into our most perplexing contemporary dilemmas.”
— New York Times
“It is filled with beauty. . .a finely made whole that seems to emanate from a very special grace.”
— Baltimore Sun
“A miracle . . . sparkles like an electric dream.”
— The Village Voice