Despite its title, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance offers little information about either Zen Buddhism or the maintenance of motorcycles. The author includes a direct warning to this effect, indicating that the book is instead a narrative based on personal experience. The narrative functions on three levels. At its simplest, it is a travelogue describing a cross-country motorcycle trip taken one summer by the narrator, Robert Pirsig, a middle-aged technical writer, and his eleven-year-old son, Chris; their westward journey begins in Minneapolis, goes through the Dakotas to Montana, then over to Oregon and down the California coast.
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