Pirsig works on a motorcycle in a workshop in 1975.
William Morrow via AP
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Author Robert M. Pirsig died Monday, age 88 . Though more than 100 publishers turned it down, his novel "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" became a million-selling classic and a cultural touchstone. Published in 1974, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" was based on a motorcycle trip Pirsig took in the late '60s with his 12-year-old son, Chris."Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" echoed a generation's yearning for the open road, quest for knowledge and skepticism of modern values, while telling a personal story about a father and son relationship and the author's struggles with schizophrenia.A Minneapolis native, Pirsig was a prodigy who at age 9 scored 170 on an IQ test and six years later graduated from high school.Chris was killed by a mugger in 1979, and later editions of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" would include an afterword about him. The author told The Guardian his son had not cared for the book.
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