Now that it's all over I find myself thinking about family history and family memories; the stories that hold a family together, and the acts that can split it apart . . . '
In the summer of 2012 a woman named Eva was found dead in the London townhouse she shared with her husband, Hans K. Rausing. The couple had struggled with addiction for years, often under the glare of tabloid headlines. Now, writing with singular clarity and restraint, Hans's sister, the editor and publisher Sigrid Rausing, tries to make sense of what happened.
Mayhemis an eloquent and timely attempt to understand the conundrum of addiction, and a memoir that is as poignant and riveting as it is devastating.
Mesmerizing. Rausing explores sweeping questions about what it means to choose or refuse a moral life, what tragedy looks like when it is woven into privilege, and how we control or surrender to our perceived destinies. Written in elegiac, lyrical prose, Mayhem is deeply passionate in its impossible attempt to adduce a redeeming vitality from an agonizing chaos. A brave, elegant, and inspired book -- Andrew Solomon Mayhem is astonishing. All the tides of trouble run through it: ferocity and gentleness, doubt and certainty, love and fear, knowledge and confusion and, above all, a deep and ineradicable longing for things to be good or good again. Unlike many books that dwell on pain, Sigrid Rausing's intelligence is never absent, so that heart and mind remain vividly and often shockingly alive in every corner and fragment. Its dignity, power and beauty burn off the page -- Adam Nicolson Remarkable. Rausing's disarming and masterful book is an important addition to the literature of addiction. Written with a restless, probing intelligence and a palpable humility, Mayhem is surely the most powerful book I've read on the impact the disease has on a family -- Bill Clegg This is a fierce, lyrical, and lucid memoir that asks agonizing questions about guilt, innocence, and judgment and reminds us how difficult it can be to untangle one from the other -- Siri Hustvedt, author of 'The Blazing World'
Sigrid Rausing is the editor of Granta magazine and the publisher of Granta Books. She is the author of two previous books: History, Memory, and Identity in Post-Soviet Estonia, and Everything is Wonderful, which was short-listed for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. She is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics and of St Antony's College, Oxford. She lives in London.