Robert M. Pirsig (1928-) published ZMM in 1974 after it was rejected by 121 publishers (a world record). Since then it has sold over 4 million copies worldwide and the London Telegraph and BBC radio called ZMM the most widely read philosophy novel ever written.
The book is two stories, both autobiographical accounts of the author's life separated by about 10 years. One regards a 17-day motorcycle trip that the author makes with his young son, traveling from Minnesota to California. The other concerns Pirsig's earlier adult life, when he was a teacher and a student of philosophy. The novel oscillates between Pirsig's current motorcycle journey and his reflections of his early life, all the while as he ponders the philosophical concept of "quality". When referring to his early life, the author calls himself Phaedrus, after the character in the eponymous dialogue written by Plato - a story that plays a major role toward the end of the novel.
|Pirsig and his son Chris|