Saturday, February 28, 2009

Zen and Now

By Mark Richardson

Zen and nowZen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a road story with a twist.

From the cover liner:

Richardson … was struck by [Zen and The Art’s] portrayal of Pirsig’s complex relationship with Chris and struck by the timelessness of its lessons.

So Richardson tuned up his old Suzuki dirt bike and became a “Pirsig pilgrim””.

Richardson neatly blends his own experiences on this trip with those of Pirsig some 36 years earlier. He follows the same route, visits the same places, and meets many of the same people that Pirsig encountered. And in the process comes to better understand himself, the Pirsigs, and Zen and the Art.

But Richardson takes it beyond a simple road story with his extensive research into the lives of the Pirsigs beyond what we learn in Zen and the Art.  The murder of Chris in San Francisco, the marital breakup, the relationship with the other son, Tom, all combine to add an interesting third dimension to Zen and Now.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for something deeply philosophical, read Pirsig’s second book, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals. But if you want a book that will keep you turning the pages and perhaps trigger an impulse to become a Pirsig pilgrim yourself, Zen and Now is a worthwhile addition to your motorcycling library.

When walking, just walk.
When sitting, just sit.
Above all, don’t wobble.

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