I really liked this book. Really liked it. It is, by default, very detailed in its description of what it would be like to be a space traveler marooned on Mars. But the writer is so skilled that this minutia actually pulls you into the story line.
Mark Watney is one of a six member expedition team to Mars. Shortly into their stay, the team has to make an emergency evacuation due to a storm, but in the midst of it, Watney is knocked down by a flying antenna. Believing him to be dead, the crew have no choice but to leave or lose their window of opportunity for leaving. Watney, however, is not dead. And actually, considering the story, it's probably better for Watney that he was left. If the six people were stranded (which indeed they would have been) Watney wouldn't have had the supplies he needed to get through the years he has to spend on a planet hostile to Earthling life until a rescue was arranged. With supplies set for six people, it's a bit easier.
The book opens with Watney's narration, but in the middle of it cuts back to NASA and a third person account of the efforts NASA personnel put into working on a rescue plan. This isn't like rowing a boat out into an ocean to pick up shipwrecked sailors. And even a successful mission would not only take months to plan but then take months, to execute. Can Watney stretch the supplies (and his own patience) long enough for rescue to arrive?
I listened to this book on CD and the reader, R.C. Bray, was great.