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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Essay

Project id 1015701
Subject area Arts Entertainment
Document type Essay
Words 3344
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Told by the blurb that we have here "among their most unique and exciting novels in the history of American letters," a single bridles both in the grammar of the claim and at its routine surplus. The grammar stays irreparable. However, I have a hunch that the assertion itself is valid. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig (Morrow), is as willfully awkward as its title. It's densely put together. It lurches, using a deliberate shift of its grave ballast, between fiction and philosophic discourse, between a personal memoir and the formulaic impersonality of a technology or transaction journal. As it sounds, it's a really long book, but report contains it, and error lines indicate, that a far longer text is determined by it. One hears of a eight- hundred-thousand-word draft and seems perversely deprived of it by the mere sanity and worldliness of this publication. The Art is embarrassing the two to reside with and to write about. It lodges in the mind as few recent novels have, doubling its grip, forcing the landscape to unexpected planes of sequence and menace. The story thread is deceptively trite. Father and son are about a bicycle vacation, traveling by Minneapolis toward the Dakotas, then across the hills, turning south to Santa Rosa and the Bay. Asphalt, motels, hairpins at the knife-cold of the Rockies, desert and fog, the waters dividing, then the temples as well as the tawny flanks of this sea. Mr. Pirsig really isn't the very first ever to explode: Kerouac has been here before him, and Humbert Humbert, a clutch of novels, movies, stories, television serials of loners on the move, lapping the quiet kilometers, toasted or saturated beneath the huge skies, motelling from 1 neon oasis to the next, and glidin...

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