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Pirsig, Robert M(aynard)

motorcycle lila

(US, 1928– )

Born in Minneapolis and educated at the University of Minnesota, Pirsig worked as a technical writer before the appearance of his best-selling Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974). Its main narrative of a motorcycle journey to the Pacific coast drifts continually into absorbing flashbacks and digressions. The result is a powerful record of psychological crisis and recovery out of which Pirsig develops his philosophy that value resides in the quality of human effort. Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (1991) is set on a sailing boat going down the Hudson river. The narrator, having picked up Lila in a bar, finds her a volatile opposite to his own reflective nature. As their relationship deteriorates, he disenchantedly surveys contemporary American life and begins a painful re-evaluation of beliefs central to his identity.

Kurt Vonnegut, Herman Melville  DH

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