I was extremely underwhelmed by this book, especially considering how often it shows up on the "greatest novels of all time" lists. Quite honestly, I'm not sure what anyone really enjoyed:
* It's hard to sympathize with or like any of the characters. They are all repulsive or unattractive in one way or another which makes it hard to care about what happens to them.
* I also found most of the characters to be pretty one dimensional. From the first introduction of each one, it usually becomes clear what they represent and they don't really develop or change in any way. You've got the Jewish guy who just wants everyone to like him but instead is surrounded by antisemitism (not necessarily the author's, just the times), you've got the drunk Scottish war veteran, a cocky Spanish bull fighter, an impotent narrator and a slutty and manly spoiled brat of a woman. They all start the novel that way and they all end the novel that way and the lack of any development makes the story very dull.
* Moreover, there is no real plot to speak of. Quite frankly, nothing really happens in the novel. The vast majority of it is spent describing the obscene amount of time and money the characters spend drinking and partying. Although I understand that this is one of the themes of the novel - how meaningful life is for its characters - it makes for a very uncompelling story.
There were two positive points:
(1) I listened to the audiobook version which was extremely well read.
(2) The last few sentences of the novel are somewhat moving and do a good job of tying some themes back together. However, it was just not enough to save this book.