Setting: Pirriwee, Australia
Sorry, fans of Crocodile Dundee. This town down under doesn't serve up any of the cliché Aussie stuff: there are zero crocs, koalas, or views of the Sydney Opera House. The most Aussie thing about this book, besides the fact that "moms" are called "mums," is the fact that Christmas takes place on a gorgeous hot summer day. Oh, and there's some surfing.
But what's important about this novel's setting has nothing to do with throwing a shrimp on the barbie or eating kangaroo curry. It's that Pirriwee is a small, quiet town located conveniently close to a pretty big city (in this case, Sydney). It's the kind of safe little idyll that people call "kid-friendly"—low crime, plenty of parks, a nice little coffee shop...plus violence and secrets galore.
Wait—what was that last thing?
Big Little Lies makes the case that, even in towns like Pirriwee, threats like domestic violence, physical assaults, and verbal abuse are real. There's darkness everywhere. It doesn't matter if it's Paris, Portland, or Pirriwee.