It’s one of those ubiquitous books that’s kept turning up on library shelves, charity shop shelves and bookshop shelves throughout my life and yet i’ve always walked away from it, until now.
I’ve always had quite a deep interest in Zen and it always seemed to me that putting it with motorcycle maintenance just wasn’t something i wanted to know about. But now i have a motorbike that needs some maintenance, and this book turned up in a “Kindle Deal” for 99p, i thought the time was right.
But oh, how wrong i’ve been all these years. It’s not a book about Zen, or how to fix a motorbike while practising Zen, it’s a wholly different thing altogether.
In fact, it’s a road trip book where our narrator takes his son on a road trip on an old motorbike across the USA. But it’s a road trip with a difference.
At it’s heart it’s a book about insanity, the condition of society and its relationship to technology, and a fair bit of Greek philosophy as well; and it’s all broken up with the story of the road trip. And it’s simply, awesome.
With hindsight, i’m happy that i’ve never read it until now as i’m much older and it really blended nicely with my own life experiences: having dropped out of a Philosophy degree course for much the same reasons and now many years later i can look back and see things more clearly.
And the ending in the “Afterword” is what truly completes this book. It really is a masterpiece of writing.