Based on Liane Moriarty's bestselling novel, HBO's Big Little Lies miniseries wraps up on Sunday night. For those of you left in the suburban-gothic lurch, I've got 20 books to read after watching the Big Little Lies finale, so that you can keep the intrigue and scandal going.
Published in 2014, Big Little Lies centers on three women — Jane, Madeline, and Celeste — whose children attend the same school. They forge a friendship and slowly reveal their secrets to one another: Celeste is trapped in an abusive marriage, Madeline has recently been forced to confront the struggles of co-parenting with her ex's new wife, and Jane is still searching for her rapist — who happens to be her son's biological father.
Moriarty's novel and the HBO miniseries adaptation revel in suburbia's dark underbelly. For U.S. readers, Big Little Lies satisfies a decades-long obsession with the suburban gothic, which began in 1972 with Ira Levin's pulpy satirical novel, The Stepford Wives. It's a murder mystery that deals with the dark and difficult issues that lie just below the surface of picture-perfect, upper-middle-class life.
Drawing on those themes, the titles below will keep you out of a slump once you're finished with the HBO miniseries. Check out my book recommendations for Big Little Lies fans below, and share your favorite dark suburban thrillers with me on Twitter!
1'We Were the Mulvaneys' by Joyce Carol Oates
Set in a small town in upstate New York, We Were the Mulvaneys tracks the disintegration of an admired family after their only daughter, Marianne, is raped on prom night.
Set during a tumultuous period in the U.S. Virgin Islands' history, Tiphanie Yanique's debut novel centers on three abandoned siblings — Eona, Anette, and Jacob — trying to reconcile the dark corners of their histories as they raise their own children.
Ten years after her best friend Corinne disappeared, Nic, her brother Daniel, and the girls' then-boyfriends Jackson and Tyler, are still eyed with suspicion in connection to the case. When Jackson's new girlfriend disappears, Corinne's case reopens, and old secrets come spilling out.
Frank and April Wheeler have it all: youth, wealth, stability, and children. Restless and unhappy, the young couple plan to expatriate to Europe, but their quest for adventure brings changes neither of them wanted.
Down and out in the U.S., Ike is unable to find an employer who can look past his thick accent to see his economics degree. When he makes a plan to steal a religious icon from his hometown in Nigeria and sell it to a New York gallery, he finds himself in the middle of a culture war between Christianity and tradition.
Jamaican-born author Nicole Dennis-Benn's debut focuses on two sisters, Margot and Thandi, living in the shadow of a high-class tourist destination. Sex worker Margot wants a better life for Thandi, but she might have found her own place in the world — in another woman's arms.