When I first picked up this book and began reading, I honestly couldn't see what all the fuss was about. I thought it was well-written, but - well, also kind of boring. The long exposition seemed unnecessary, the humor seemed forced and the characters weren't all that engaging.
That all changed about a fourth of the way through, when the first part of the book ends and the real meat of the story begins. From the opening words of part two - "The ship sank." - I was hooked, and I stayed hooked to the very end. It's an odd, amazing tale with some completely amazing literary seascapes, some truly horrific moments, some funny and touching scenes, and some deceptive little twists. I finished the book with a smile and a clear understanding of what all the fuss was about.