Mayhem: A Memoir


We recommend this…

for anyone struggling with guilt or regret about not being able to help a family member or friend in crisis, especially with addictions.

A quick summary

For many years, Sigrid Rausing’s brother Hans and his wife Eva struggled with catastrophic drug addictions, and despite wealth and many kinds of privilege they were unable to stave off the mayhem that engulfed them and their family. When Eva died from a drug overdose, it was a national news story. Rausing wrote this book to piece together what happened – so, as her father said, “it won’t be just fragments, like a dream”. In looking back, she adds layers of understanding and insight to the chaos and pain that overtook them all – and extends a hand to anyone who has been caught up in addictions.


Publisher’s description:

A Sunday Times Book of the Year

‘I write, knowing that writing at all may be seen as a betrayal of family; a shaming, exploitative act. Anyone reading this who thinks so, please know that I thought it before you’

For years Sigrid Rausing watched helplessly as her brother Hans and his wife Eva succumbed to drug addiction. It afflicted a terrible toll on their family, culminating in Eva’s tragic early death.

As this death led to inquest and media circus, the world looked on in horror, but few understood the suffering endured by the Rausing family. In Mayhem, Sigrid explores the collateral damage addiction wreaks on loved ones. Telling her family’s story, she examines painful and rarely discussed questions.

What is it like to live with addiction in the family? How can you help without hurting the one you love? And what does it mean to survive another’s addiction?

‘Riveting, clear-sighted and exceptionally articulate… Her literary and psychoanalytic fluency gives the book an impact that feels arrestingly honest… Heartbreaking’ Daily Telegraph

‘An unsparing account of a family destroyed by drugs. Unique and haunting’ Sunday Times

‘What gives this book its astonishing power is not the guilt, but the intelligence and literary skill’ Guardian

Additional information

Format Paperback
Weight 160 g
Dimensions 197 × 130 × 15 mm
Book Author

ISBN 9780241977064


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