Zen and Now
On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
By Mark Richardson
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307390691, 288pp.)
Publication Date: September 8, 2009
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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 first published 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 generations of 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 what happened to the reclusive Pirsig, his family, and the people described in the book in the years after its surprising success.
Mark Richardson is a motorcycle and auto editor and writer for the Toronto Star.
“Assured and poetic. . . . A sort of Cliff’s Notes version of the dense original, and as much of a biography of Pirsig as Richardson was able to piece together. . . . An enjoyable read. . . . Richardson is quite meticulous in describing the thoughts, sensations, even the superstitions many motorcyclists experience while riding.” —The Los Angeles Times“A harrowing account of the toll that themaking of one man’s masterpiece exacted not only on himself but on those around him.”—TheWall Street Journal“Most notably for fans of the original, Zen and Now pushes the story forward, through Richardson’s correspondence with the interview-averse Pirsig, his editor, his ex-wife, and a second son, Ted.” —The Boston Globe“Richardson’s strong narrative thread results in a page-turner that does right by the original. Zen and Now is sure to inspire a new generation of riders and readers to pick up Pirsig’s book and take to the open road in search of quality.” —Vince Darcangelo, Rocky Mountain News“Fans of Pirsig’s cult classic should read Richardson’s book if they want the true story of the author. . . . Richardson digs deep to unearth the motives behind his tormented mentor’s search for quality while embarking on a search of his own. . . . [Zen and Now is] an engrossing tale recounted with a journalist’s attention to fact and an adventurer’s appetite for the enlightening surprise.” —Scott Driscoll, Seattle Post-Intelligencer“A good read. . . . Although Richardson is on the trail of Pirsig, this book is as much about his own status in the universe and who he is as a father and a human being. It is charmingly written, honest to a fault and as unpretentious as Pirsig’s book was the opposite. Zen and Now invites the reader along on several levels; Richardson’s research into Pirsig and his life is impeccable and the book is full of all kinds of interesting little nuggets.” —Ted Laturnus, Toronto Globe and Mail“Zen and Now is a story worth telling, about a journey worth sharing–an entertaining, inspiring, and rewarding read.” —Neil Peart, bestselling author of Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road