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.
2'American Psycho' by Bret Easton Ellis
In the late 1980s, Patrick Bateman lives a high life full of sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, tailored suits, and murder. By day, he's a Manhattan banker, but by night, Bateman's a serial killer — or is he?
3'Land of Love and Drowning' by Tiphanie Yanique
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.
4'Summerlong' by Dean Bakopoulos
The heat hits a small Midwestern town hard in Dean Bakopoulos' Summerlong, driving spouses into the arms of strangers and sparking rendezvous in IKEA.
5'All the Missing Girls' by Megan Miranda
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.
6'Revolutionary Road' by Richard Yates
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.
7'Where They Found Her' by Kimberly McCreight
When the body of an unidentified baby is found in the woods near Ridgedale, New Jersey, an out-of-towner journalist who recently lost her own child is assigned to cover the case.
8'Crazy Rich Asians' by Kevin Kwan
The first installment of Kevin Kwan's uproarious series, Crazy Rich Asians follows young lovers Nicholas and Rachel through an unforgettably uncomfortable summer in Singapore.
9'American Housewife' by Helen Ellis
The 12 stories in Helen Ellis' collection focus on domestic goddesses whose lives burn up, get crimped, and come unpinned.
10'The Dinner' by Herman Koch
Told over the course of one fateful meal, The Dinner centers on two affluent couples whose children have committed a grievous act, but whom they can't quite seem to talk about.
11'The First Bad Man' by Miranda July
In Miranda July's debut novel, an anxious and quixotic woman finds her life turned upside-down by the addition of a young boarder intent on forcing her back into the real world.
12'Luckiest Girl Alive' by Jessica Knoll
While planning her wedding to a wealthy fiancé, TifAni FaNelli must come to terms with the horrors of her own past, including the facts no one was ever supposed to know.
13'The Marriage Plot' by Jeffrey Eugenides
Unwinding in the center of a university love triangle, The Marriage Plot exposes the opposing goals of three young people who are looking for their futures in the 1980s.
14'Hausfrau' by Jill Alexander Essbaum
Unsatisfied with her life as a Swiss banker's wife in Zürich, Anna begins a series of self-searching affairs, not all of which are as easily ended as begun ...
15'Foreign Gods, Inc.' by Okey Ndibe
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.
16'Here Comes the Sun' by Nicole Dennis-Benn
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.
17'Commonwealth' by Ann Patchett
A saga that traces the unravelling and re-stitching of families, Ann Patchett's Commonwealth begins with an adulterous kiss at a Southern California christening party.