In fiction, setting refers to the time, place and atmosphere in which a story takes place. Books can offer various settings, but for any given moment or episode in a book the action always takes place in a single, particular setting.
Along with plot, character, theme, and style, setting is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction. A setting is the time, place and social environment in which a story takes place.
The short novel, Of Mice and Men, opens with an extended description of an idyllic setting which functions as a contrast to the book's situation of hard labor and the stark social realities of its characters:
...On the sandy bank under trees the leaves lie deep and so crisp that a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among them. Rabbits come out of the brush to sit on the sand in the evening, and the dampflats are covered with the night tracks of 'coons, and with teh spread pads of dogs from the ranches, and wtih the split-wedge tracks of deer that come to drink from the dark.
As we see here, setting is often effectively created through the use of sensory details. Setting can be defined in many ways however, both directly and indirectly, through the use of specific facts of time and place and by hints and subtle details that suggest a larger world.