It's easy to find good things to say about the novel. Chabon is a talented wordsmith. He fits more brilliant similes on one page than I can manage in a whole novel. His world is really creative: an alternative world where a Jewish settlement was established in Alaska. He fills the book with all kinds of unique and detailed characters. And thematically, he deals with important issues related to prejudice, isolation, and addiction.
Even with all that, I have to confess I didn't finish the book. I just did not get pulled in emotionally, nor did I care about the "whodunit" aspect of the plot. In some ways, the reading experience was a flashback to my college days, where I'd be reading a classic that I was "supposed" to enjoy, but the most I could manage was a grudging respect for the author.
So, maybe one of you WorldCon members who voted for the novel can post a comment about why you voted for it. Am I just a doofus who can't appreciate a classic when its right under my nose?