This is the rather grim story surrounding the catastrophic drug addiction of the author’s brother, Hans Kristian Rausing and his wife, Eva.
If you don’t know the bare bones of the story, the Rausings are the heirs to the packaging company Tetra Pak billions; Hans who had already been an addit met Eva in rehab. They recovered, married, had 4 kids and then relapsed really, really badly.
Eventually Eva died in her bedroom of a heart attack after taking (crack?) cocaine. Hans panicked, did not call the police and covered Eva’s body in duvets, deodorising powder, mattresses and television screens and she lay undiscovered like this for two months.
The book got mixed reviews and I can sort of see why – there is so much that the author isn’t allowed, legally, to say. Doesn’t want to say because Hans Kristian is alive and seems to be well and is now married to Julia Delves-Broughton. And the children! What about Eva and Hans Kristian’s four children?
So there are bits missing. But who cares? This is not one of those minutely workshopped and focus-grouped writing-by-numbers books that sell billions of copies because of all the pain. But, you know it’s all the better for it. It’s real, it’s a genuine glimpse into a kind of life you don’t get to witness, with all its privilege and simultaneous pitfalls.
I’ve always been a fan of Sigrid Rausing, who seems like such a good person. She has overcome the monstrous psychological disadvantage, (don’t laugh, honestly), of never having to do a day’s work in her life. Mayhem feels like it was written not out of bitterness or malice, just out of Sigrid’s almost atavistic need to tell her own story – and I think she deserves to be heard.
Thanks for this, I hadn’t spotted it was out. I find them fascinating. I’ve fallen down into endless newspaper pieces about them and their circle in the past.
Nicola Doherty says
That is a really great and fair-minded review – you’ve reminded me to look this one up. Thanks!
Sasha B says
Wow. On the basis of your excellent review, and the fact I’ve been fascinated by this story via newspaper articles in the past, am v.intrigued to get this. But big question, Esther, WHERE do you find the time to do all this wonderful reading?? I bought ‘The Nest’ on one of your past reccos but am woefully slow in getting into it although loving it when I have the time. I feel I want to spend an hour at a time to GET INTO IT. But…. Must give up work and read more. And must not keep looking at INSTAGRAM.
Sasha I don’t watch TV in the evening! I just read…
Sasha B says
Now that is the trick I’ve been missing *unplugs TV/hides remote*.. genius.
It’s always fascinating to me the sort of situations that people of certain wealth and status are able to come back from – and are socially permitted to come back from.
Thank you, Esther, this is right up my boulevard … have reserved a library copy X
Definitely going to read this thanks Esther! Such a sad story makes me glad I am poor!
Sarah we all ought to be very pleased that we are not the heirs to a vast fortune. I’m serious!!