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.
–Sigrid Rausing - Mayhem - c.2017
Added to Mount TBR in March 2018 – I came across this book as it was longlisted for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize. It sounded interesting
It is a strange book in a way. Sort of a biography, sort of a book about drug addiction, but more a book about dealing with other people and how you can never really know them.
In 2012 Eva Rausing’s body was found. She was Sigrid’s sister-in-law, and had died from taking drugs. Sigrid’s brother, Eva’s husband was also a drug addict. They had both been to rehab, they had both gotten clean, and they had both relapsed. Now Eva was dead.
In Mayhem Sigrid attempts to somehow make sense of all that. Of their lives, of her responsibility to them. Of their own responsibility and their own culpability.
What is it that makes an addict, and who is to blame for addiction?
Rausing is well aware that she doesn’t have those answers, that nobody really has them. She doesn’t believe that there is any one cause, rather more a combination of events and genes and society. And is the addict responsible? They chose to start taking drugs again, but it is also a medical issue. Is there even any point in worrying about that? especially given that society is still very much at a loss of how to help addicts.
Mayhem is a really interesting read. Rausing is clearly very intelligent and well-educated1 and she is also aware of her own privilege and all the benefits that bestowed. Even though they were not enough to save her brother from addiction.
It isn’t a book that offers answers, rather it raises questions and makes you examine what you think you know about drugs and addiction. It is a really good read.
I had never heard of the family before but the death of Eva was all over the media as her family were extremely wealthy the previous generation having invented Tetra-Pak ↩