Maybe it's a novel; maybe it's a collection of interlocked short stories. There's a variety of styles and viewpoints here. I think I picked this book up because someone said there was a part set in San Francisco's early punk scene, with mentions of Mabuhay Gardens and Eye Protection and such. But this book wasn't a good place to find out about such venues/bands. Rather, in one chapter/short story/part/thingy there's the emotional journey of people who happen to be at such venues/listening to such bands. So I didn't learn so much from this book. Still, there are reasons to read fiction beyond learning things. One part of this book about a PR expert helping an ex-dictator, was pretty sweet. It's a nice tale of persuasion: persuading the world populace to tolerate this monster; persuading the monster to try her ideas. Since we don't see inside the dictator's head, nor the head of the world populace, the big shifts happen "off-camera"; but what we can see is still satisfying.