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Goodbye Freddie Mercury

3.10  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Play the game,
everybody play the game . . .

Lahore is burning. General elections are right around the corner. The summer city rages with the drug-fuelled parties of the oblivious, the rich and famous, while campaign posters and rally cries dominate the airwaves.

Bugsy, rock RJ and host of the nation's top English radio show, is young and fabulous. Seeking more than wealth,
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published 2018 by Penguin Random House India Pvt Ltd
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Average rating 3.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  154 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Anum S.
It’s very hard to figure out how to review a book this pointless when the characters themselves admit that they are, in fact, completely pointless. Have do you criticize something for being blah when they are so self-aware of their extreme blahness?

“I’ve been thinking stuff. Things feel different. It’s not normal, the way we live our lives, you know? All the drugs and booze, the endless parties. We don’t do anything worthwhile.”

There are very strong Mohsin-Hamid-Moth-Smoke vibes here: in the sl
Atulaa Krishnamurthy

I read Nadia Akbar’s “Goodbye Freddie Mercury” yesterday, and it’s still swirling around in my head, yet to settle. Two big reasons why I wanted to read this are to do with 1) its gorgeous cover by Samya Arif, and 2) 2018 seems to be a great year to read first-time authors of colour (Sanam Maher, Richa Kaul Padte, Aanchal Malhotra, Sujatha Gidla come to mind).

Goodbye Freddie Mercury is about Nida and Bugsy, two twenty-somethings who feel a connection to each other in a time of political cha
Meera Nair
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Nadia Akbar’s debut novel, set in Pakistan, narrates the stories of the youth, as they grow up in a society ripe with corruption, volatile politics and gender bias. Nida and Bugsy are two such teenagers whose lives get entangled when they meet at a party. After her brother’s death, Nida has grown estranged from her family and chooses to spend her days smoking one joint after another. Bugsy is an RJ trying to harmonize rock music into the music scene in Lahore, a place that is still clinging to t ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like wordless fucking wow.

1) I didn't think am entire book could be written in such a funny sarcastic banter.
2) I didn't think you'd want to punch so many characters in their fucking balls at the same time.

Bugsy. Nida. Ali. Alfie. I like them. I love them. I want to protect them from their own shit. I want to get high with them and listen to their music and talk to them and share food and ride. I want to comfort them and live their world.

Moby. Omer. Ifti. Aliya. I want to hit them so ha
Nidhi Mahajan
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Originally posted on my blog.

Playing the Desi Game: Goodbye Freddie Mercury by Nadia Akbar

Goodbye Freddie Mercury by Nadia Akbar is set in the city of Lahore, Pakistan and spans one long summer in the lives of a bunch of characters (mostly) in their early twenties.

It is told in two alternating voices—that of Nida, a twenty-one-year-old student desperate to escape the claustrophobic atmosphere of her conservative home; and that of Bugsy, a radio jockey and lover of rock music, who is severely dis
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Lahore is a character in Nadia Akbar's Goodbye Freddie Mercury and what a well-described, lovable character it is. The descriptions of the Old City, late night drives, food stalls and the summer keep me hooked to the book, till the end.

The book, narrated from the perspective of 2 characters, Nida and Bugsy is a breezy 350 odd page novel. Set in Lahore, just before a historic general election, the book is a hugely political but manages to hide it, in its exploration of relationships and drugs an
Jasleen Kaur
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
It was a beautiful contemporary but it felt rushed at times and dragged at certain points. I loved the characters and the whole aura of Lahore. The end was bizarre and bland. Only if there was something extra. Something else to hold on to; it would have been a perfect read.
Ashley (Peak) Cox
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Goodbye Freddie Mercury was heart-wrenching and eye-opening. It was the best kind of unexpected. Nadia Akbar nailed it her first novel. Every sentence was artfully written. The dialogue was fresh, and it was so engaging to experience Lahore from Nida and Bugsy’s perspectives. The excess. The system. The brokenness. The numbness. The humanity. The ending was so, so powerful. Its social critique of class, power, and gender politics sticks with you. It had. a brilliant cult classic feel. I was blow ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
There is no doubt that Nadia wrote the book beautifully. The minute details and artistically articulated proses are a pleasure to read.

But the problems with the book overshadow the plus points. The writer failed to present a compelling storyline. The book could have dwelled into the description of Pakistan, its culture, politics and much more. But instead of that, Nadia prefers to endlessly write about drugs, booze, and sex.

The book seems to come off as an ostentatious act by the writer, showi
Shumaila Taher
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
When Nida loses her brother in an army helicopter crash, her life spirals in every direction, making her sink deeper into the dark-hole she's trying to escape. A student of Economics at Lahore College, she desperately tries to piece together her life, and as her family tries to recover from the tragedy, Nida struggles to find a place she could finally be at peace. Belonging to a middle class family, and searching for a different kind of 'high' she finds herself being drawn to the life of the eli ...more
Kunal Gwalani
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Review first published on my blog here:

Excerpt below:

As an Indian, I have been curious about the life and lifestyle of the average Pakistani and always wondered what it's like, on the other side of the "BORDER".

This was my first literary experience and it was an interesting read. The commonalities, the similar interests, the hopeless situation, the inevitable political corruption. One wonders how different things would have been if it wasn't for the partition.
In both cou
Avantika Sharma
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I read the synopsis of 'Goodbye Freddie Mercury', it intrigued me. I haven't read many (maybe not any) book based in Pakistan. Afghanistan and other countries yes, there are authors like Khalid Hosseini to thank for that. This book took me by surprise, and how!

Let's talk about the cover illustration first - it's eye-catchy! A hard bound version in striking pink and yellow - anyone who saw the book in my hand or at my desk stops to see the name and admire the cover. Showing both the lead cha
Abdullah Mo
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Look at this place, this city. I mean, if there’s an example why we’re broken, it’s Lahore. Poor beautiful fucked-up Lahore. Load-shedding for twelve hours a day, sometimes fourteen, and no one to pay the city’s electricity bill. Politicians would rather pocket the money and buy apartments in London….This place will never get fixed, and you know why? Because no one wants to fix it. It’s broken and people like that.” (303)

Our very own Pakistani pulp fiction with Lahore as a protagonist Goodbye
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 ⭐️
'Goodbye Freddie Mercury' is a book that shows the life of Urban youths and how the challenges in society - societal , economic , political and security ( terrorism ) has the effect on their lives. The book tells the tale of Nida and Bugs, in first person with almost alternate chapters.
characters - The characters are deeply built. specially, The two we are going to see a lot of . They are careless and undaunting. sometimes you feel that they honestly don't care about the society and are
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enter the world of Nida, Omer, Bugsy. Their young lives are ruled by rave parties, love, politics and life in Lahore. Author Nadia Akbar pens beautifully the story of urban lahore and narrates the lives of protaganists in alternative voices of Bugsy & Nida.

Bugsy is a well known RJ, fan of Freddie Mercury and Music, while Nida has newly joined college and is looking for ways to escape her boring life, her traditional parents. In one such party, she meets Omer, son of a politically & poweful infl
Sanam Noor
Aug 05, 2020 rated it liked it
What I like most about the international authors of Pakistan is that their writing style is quite gripping and interesting; no matter how pointless the book is you would not want to put it down.
Nida Akbar's Goodbye Freddie Mercury has made me fall in love with Lahore more and more. I loved it how Lahore was the central character of her book. The political scene, the night life, the social scene, the parties and the heat all makes me want to move there.
The book is very raw, you just have to go w
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Name - Goodbye Freddie Mercury
Author - Nadia Akbar
Publication - Penguin
Type - HardCover
Rating - 2/5

I had watched the author’s interview when she was live on Penguin’s facebook page & was really looking forward to reading the book.

The book cover had my attention when I saw it for the 1st time, absolutely quirky & probably the best part about the book. Since the author spoke about the youth, way of living in Pakistan, etc I was curious to read. But, this one was a let down.

Nida, Bugzy, Faisal, Om
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was tweeted about by Sherry Rehman, so I picked it up when visiting in Islamabad. For people who never knew much about Pakistan... and Lahore in particular, this will show a side of the city few could imagine. But it’s a side that definitely exists (many young Lahoris I’ve met don’t realize the extent of poverty in the nation or that theirs is a developing country - while others work tirelessly to try to improve conditions). The writing is decent and propels the reader along. Yet for m ...more
Anushe Khan Pagnier
Jun 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
A lot of musings on the city and people that I can tell are the authors rather than the characters. Lots of descriptions which she’s good at but don’t advance the plot or add to the story, long passages of opinions by the characters which could instead be replaced with some good old Showin’.

Every page is oozing with the characters guilt of privilege but not in a way that’s relatable as while the stories are recognisable, the characters are too one dimensional for it to have much impact. The bant
Anil Dhingra
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-2018
A rare book about the youth of Pakistan. The booze parties, drugs, lack of morals in the Rich strata of the country is exposed with a first hand honesty.
The story includes the elections and the role of a new nominee on his plank of anti corruption---its a character like imran Khan.
It was nice to learn about the country. However, there is too much of depravity, exaggerations aplenty and the worst is that the end leaves us with more questions about what happened to the female protagonist. Wish i
Mah-i-kan Kurd
Jul 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019


Colourful cover. Ali Azmat’s review threw me off a bit but till then I had already paid for it. The book was filled with internalised socially acceptable and commonplace misogyny especially with the blatant and covert “not like other girl” remarks about the protagonist. There were myriads of moments with cheap classist and racist remarks which makes me wonder when will the author be victimized by the ‘cancel’ culture because honestly, NOT cool. Also, I think the whole char
Ayesha Farhad
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Its like re-reading Saba Imtiaz’s Karachi youre killing me, except with more posh drugs and more booze.
I was so excited about reading this book because I thought it might be a teeny bit relevant to Freddie Mercury but there is nothing of that sort except feigning an interest in rock music while high on drugs.
There are a few realistic parts where you realise how screwed up the political scene in Pakistan is along with the difference in class and you kind of relate to it.

Else, its best to skip re
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sometimes, you see a cover so stunning, you can't but pick up the book and this was one such. It stayed unread for a bit, till I wanted to read a book by a Pakistani author, and this begged to be picked up.
The characters were likable, some of the situations relateable, but the plot seemed non existent.
As a commentary on the political situation in the country, it was spot on. And some of the passages, unfortunately, applied to India too.
But it is as a portrait of the city that I most liked about
Tuba Khalid
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Started this with an expectation that the mere mention of Freddie Mercury is not just for attention and there’s more to this book that meets the eye. Unfortunately regarding the music bit I wasn’t impressed. However I’ll give it to the writer for putting in details on the Lahori lifestyle of a selected few.
Pratibha Pandey
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018

I liked the characters and the conversations. It was almost surreal at times ,making you pause and think back of your youth or look into the futility of all this, but the overall story left me wanting more , a closure maybe. That's just my personal feeling though. The book is entertaining , the lives and the narration of the book almost like one of your own relative's tale and there is a lot of heart and hurt in the book.
Monika Singh
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was really happy with the pace of story but only disappointed with the ending. If there's no sequel to come out of this book, I'll still keep wondering the possibilities of Nida's existence after that night. ...more
Mazhar Salam
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As good or bad as Lahore, and Lahoris. You will hate it and love it for being so brutally honest.
Ayeza Raza
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
1. Cover art
2. The portrayal of Lahore - so honest and real, you can taste the toxic
3. Oddly satisfying

May 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
The only saving grace: Lahore.
Mahreen Butt
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The end is haunting me a year later... that’s a good book!
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