Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Self-Control” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  60 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The second volume in Stig Sæterbakken’s loosely connected “S Trilogy,” Self-Control moves from the dark portrait of codependent marriage featured in the acclaimed Siamese to a world of solitary loneliness and repression. A middle-aged man, Andreas Feldt, feeling that he is unable to communicate with his adult daughter over the course of a friendly lunch, announces on an in ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published January 1st 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
MJ Nicholls
Aug 26, 2014 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it
The second novel from Norwegian troublemaker SS (who to our crushing disappointment ended his life in 2012) in his trilogy, and my second encounter with his work after the remarkable Through the Night. A less engaging but twice as tormented, neurotic and grief-stricken novel about a middle-aged man in the muddle of his life, contemplating the ennui and ridiculousness in his marriage and vocation. As the novel progresses the aimlessness of the plot transfers to aimlessness in the reading but the ...more
Jim Elkins
Jan 05, 2013 Jim Elkins rated it it was ok
Shelves: norwegian
I loved “Siamese,” the first book in this so-called “S Trilogy.” It is one of the darker books I have ever read, and made me ponder just how black black can get. (Review here.)

This book is quite different, and it showcases qualities of Saeterbakken that I didn’t like as much: his penchant for nauseating detail, which he thinks of as darkly humorous (a man smells his cold sweaty feet, and wonders why he enjoys the smell); his tendency to write in a succession of set pieces (in this book each ends
Oct 08, 2012 Stephen rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, btba-13
A bit sadder and less abrasive than Siamese (which I quite liked), Saeterbakken's Self-Control is a book about the loneliness and pervasive sadness haunting a man whose life, like many of ours, is defined only by the rote actions that constitute it.
Feb 22, 2013 Clark rated it liked it
Shelves: made-ups
If you like books about how life sucks and we're all just one small step away from total derailment, then this one is pretty okay.
Dec 18, 2015 Sean rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, dalkey-archive

Self-Control is unsettling from the start due to its narrator Andreas's unsettledness. And Sæterbakken has a habit of initiating minor plot-lines only to let them fade away, which adds to the on-edge feeling the novel generates, as if one is always expecting with the turn of the page to be greeted by some dramatic, and likely horrible, climax, or at least to find further sparks of a previously lit fuse still smoldering in one's memory following its ignition earlier in the book. Oddly enough, thi
Jul 02, 2013 Vincent rated it really liked it
I read Siamese and loved it, so I was really looking forward to this book, the second in the so-called S trilogy. Then I read reviews, mostly on Goodreads, that almost all suggested that this was a let down compared to the first book. Hogwash. Self-Control may rank higher in my estimation. In some ways it is a more subtle novel, though it has its share of intense moments. Siamese, as great as it is, seems to be more popular due to the main idea (a couple, one deaf, the other blind-- wow, ...more
Sep 17, 2013 Donavan rated it really liked it
...and I think I like it. and I just can't hide it.
Oct 18, 2014 Yasmeen rated it it was ok
My brain doesn't know how to process Stig Saeterbakken.

About a year ago I read Through the Night, and liked it without really understanding why I did. Self-Control reads nothing like Through the Night, and I didn't like it nearly as much. But there's an element to this guy's writing that's in both of them and I don't even know what to compare it to. Those day-to-day almost but not quite Kafkaesque moments in which everything seems inexplicably ridiculous and pathetic for a moment-- as though fo
Andrew Yuen
Aug 27, 2016 Andrew Yuen rated it liked it
A trend among Norwegian authors is this sense that language is unambiguous and so distinct that nothing said could be misunderstood.

There is a strong sense of clarity in Saeterbakken's prose. It is exact, like washing machine instructions. Or perhaps it's just the way these books come out of translation. To paraphase a commentator, this book is " a manual on exactly how not to live. "

There are many parts of ourselves that we wish would remain hidden. That interior is suffocating, selfish and wa
Stephen Austin
Stephen Austin rated it liked it
Aug 21, 2015
Dina Elsharkawy
Dina Elsharkawy rated it liked it
Jul 16, 2014
W.T.Hull rated it it was ok
Jan 20, 2016
Jonathan Mayhew
Jonathan Mayhew rated it really liked it
Feb 23, 2013
Eric K
Eric K rated it really liked it
Jun 16, 2014
josephine rated it liked it
Feb 01, 2013
Idunn rated it really liked it
Dec 17, 2012
Oda rated it really liked it
Sep 22, 2013
F Cats
F Cats rated it really liked it
Jun 14, 2013
Aashish Kaul
Aashish Kaul rated it liked it
Jul 23, 2015
Greg rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2014
Swarthout rated it it was amazing
Sep 22, 2016
Laurie Haugland
Laurie Haugland rated it really liked it
Jun 04, 2014
Yuri rated it liked it
Mar 13, 2016
Leta rated it liked it
Aug 22, 2014
Kelly rated it liked it
Jul 15, 2015
Hendrik rated it liked it
Nov 19, 2016
Øyvind Holen
Øyvind Holen rated it really liked it
Jul 15, 2015
Pierre Corbeau
Pierre Corbeau rated it liked it
Apr 13, 2014
Grant rated it it was amazing
Sep 03, 2016
Jeffrey rated it liked it
May 26, 2013
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Stig Sæterbakken was a Norwegian author. He published his first book at the age of 18, a collection of poems called Floating Umbrellas, while still attending Lillehammer Senior High School. In 1991, Sæterbakken released his first novel, Incubus, followed by The New Testament in 1993. Aestethic Bliss (1994) collected five years of work as an essayist.

Sæterbakken returned to prose in 1997 with the n
More about Stig Sæterbakken...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »