I have never read a novel like this before, but that’s obvious since it is actually not a novel. (The clue is in the name.) But it has characters (well, a character), lots of historical figures, and a (very faint) narrative arc. And it’s pretty fun to read.
Initially it seems like a very tersely worded version of one of those books of random factoids. Just a succession of one- or two-sentence paragraphs stating more or less interesting historical facts. Like this:
Puccini, sipping coffee, once told Lucrezia Bori that her costume was too neat for the last act of Manon Lescaut, in which Manon is destitute.
And dumped the coffee on her gown.