I think that I liked this book. I found it quite engaging - as I read it over the course of this week, mainly in 30-60 minute chunks at bedtime, it was easy enough to pick up and put down with no problem remembering the story from night to night; but not so gripping that it kept me awake at night. That is, until last night when I was finishing the book.
I'm not going to reveal the plot, but I will say that there is a plot twist right close to the end that was as visceral as a punch in the stomach. In retrospect (hindsight being 20/20 and all), I should have seen it coming, but I didn't, and it kept me awake after finishing the book, reflecting on what had just happened.
Parts of it were a bit clunky - there are obvious parallels between the main character and the author; it was a bit slow to get going and to figure out where the story was going - but it was almost like a runaway train picking up momentum before crashing at the end of the line.
A lot of the promotion has been about the concept of a "flip-book". The main character is an author who can't get his latest book published because it is a flip-book with a novel beginning at one end and an essay at the other that meet in the middle; and apparently Yann Martel wanted to publish this as a flip book along with an essay on the holocaust. But then someone sensibly pointed out that including an essay would necessarily colour any reader's interpretation of the book. Though a lot has been made of this, I think that the whole thing was less relevant than the actual plot.
So as I said at the beginning, I think that I liked this book, but I'm going to need to take some time to digest what just happened. It is certainly a book that is going to stay with me for a while.