Chris's Reviews > Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
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's review
Feb 20, 2010

liked it
Read from February 20 to June 01, 2010

Educational and intriguing. I learned about Zen. I learned about motorcycles. I learned about philosophy, even if my brain tried to fight it at times. The sly trick used here is to get the reader hooked with a plot. It's a road trip, with characters and conversations and scenery. Ah, passing time while getting to the destination... the classic literary problem facing The Epic Journey. The characters need to get from point A to point B and it's a long way, what is a writer to do? If he/she simply breaks off and starts a new chapter, the Journey is not nearly Epic enough. Pirsig is smart and deliberate, giving his narrator
tangential ramblings termed Chautauquas to keep the character and the reader occupied. Pretty realistic too, because one does have to think about SOMETHING while riding a motorcycle for miles and miles. But then the Chautaquas get longer... more abstract... richer with esoteric jargon... Then you realize that the Chautaquas are not a diversion but the purpose of the book, and what you thought was plot probably exists mostly to stifle the AUGH-I'm-in-a-real-philosophy-book reflex. But by then you decide it's not so bad, bully through, and perhaps change the way you think about thought.

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