(NOTE: Recently I updated my “Notable Page” with this item, and I thought it good for a blog post, too, after I found the afterword (and the entire book) published online.)
The Biker Read Hegel – Eddie Dean, online.wsj.com, 09-08-2008 – A review of Zen and Now, by Mark Richardson, about the true story behind Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig, the bestselling philosophy book of the 1970s, which I bought in college and read twice before I understood it.
Underlying the plot and ideas of the book is a constant level of desperate melancholy and sadness, brought to life by the relationship between Pirsig and his (then) 11 year old son Chris. The reader was never sure how much of this was real, and how much was fictionalized for dramatic effect. Unfortunately, it was true, and things got worse for the family after the book was published.
A tenth-anniversary version of “Zen” includes an afterword by the author explaining what happened, and how he learned to deal with. It’s a must-read for fans of the book.