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 drug addiction for years, often under the glare of tabloid headlines. Now, writing with singular clarity and restraint, Hans’ sister, the editor and publisher Sigrid Rausing, tries to make sense of what happened. In Mayhem, she asks the difficult questions those close to the world of addiction must face. “Who can help the addict, consumed by a shaming hunger, a need beyond control? There is no medicine: the drugs are the medicine. And who can help their families, so implicated in the self-destruction of the addict? Who can help when the very notion of ‘help’ becomes synonymous with an exercise of power; a familial police state; an end to freedom, in the addict’s mind?” An eloquent and timely attempt to understand the conundrum of addiction—and a memoir as devastating as it is riveting. “Mayhem is more than a story of tragic addiction and its effects on a family. It 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
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 has a PhD in Anthropology from University College London, and is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics and St Antony’s College, Oxford. She lives in London with her husband, film and theatre producer Eric Abraham.
Andrew Solomon is a writer and lecturer on psychology, politics, and the arts; winner of the National Book Award; and an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, and the arts.