This book is pure page turning enjoyment. (Though I don't know that it lives up to the hype in any kind of lasting, prize-winning way.) The narrator's mix of cold-hearted violence and sentimentality is hard to resist, but he's more complex than just A Killer with a Heart of Gold. And the plot twists and turns its way through Ye Olde California. The endless philosophizing from bit players strains credulity, but does give it more of the Epic Journey feeling. And then it's all kind of undercut with lovely dark humor. OK, I'll stop over-analyzing and over-capitalizing. Just read it.
(Seriously though, what is with all the buzz??? Is it that it's a modern western hitting at just the right post-True Grit moment? Is it the cover? Do people clamor for more Canadians writing the great American novel?)