I was a bit disappointed with this read. I had heard great things about this book, and read Lerner's story in the New Yorker last spring--which I loved. It had a surreal, poetic quality to the prose and the characters. However, Leaving the Atocha Station felt contrived to me. Whether it was a real account or not. I think the main reason for this is that the main character felt so deluded. I did not feel like he was honest. (Ha, maybe that's because he lies all the time in the book!) But on various levels, the main character, boy/man seemed emotionally stunted, and the other characters were not fleshed out to be whole characters one could get into. I know this could be the case of the "unreliable narrator." But that sort of thing is rarely for me--it's like in real life: you let them off the hook when you like what they are thinking and what they are saying. And this character did not do it for me.
Despite this, the book is still very engaging, but did not grab me from the depths.