The short story “Same Same but Different” by Anne Hayden is set in Melbourne, Australia in modern days (as indicated by references to online dating). Additionally, part of the narrator’s flashbacks is from Dublin and New York.

Physical setting

The narrator often compares Melbourne with Dublin and the US, because she comes from Dublin which is very different from Melbourne; and because it was in New York that she spent the last summer with her twin Molly before she died.


Social setting

The narrator does not only compare and contrast the three places in terms of physical setting but also in terms of social setting. In her view, the society in Australia is too relaxed, while that of Dublin is too small, and that of New York is diverse and credulous:

...Dublin which is really just a big town. Everyone you meet knows someone you know, and sooner or later everyone knows your story. But all this bloody sunshine makes it much more difficult to be alone. I constantly feel like I should be sitting with a group of friends in a beer garden... (ll. 41-44)

When we met people in New York that summer, Molly and I used to tell them we had twins’ telepathy, felt each other’s pain, that sort of thing. The Americans really buy into all that stuff. (ll. 55-57)

To escape the memory of her sister, the narrator moves to Melbourne where no one knows her, and she can lie about her past. She does not tell anyone about her dead twin sister, but she still cannot forget about Molly.


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