Ripley: Is My Atrani a Real Book?

Image Credit: Stefano Cristiano Montesi/Netflix

A game of lies and deceit ensues in Netflix’s ‘Ripley’ when a conman gets a dream job. Tom Ripley, living miserably in New York, is offered to travel to Italy on an all-expenses-paid trip. His job is to convince Dickie Greenleaf to leave Italy and come back home. Of course, as soon as Tom meets Dickie, he becomes so obsessed with his target’s lifestyle that he completely throws away the purpose of his visit. Apart from Dickie, he also meets his girlfriend, Marge Sherwood, who is working on her novel, which is based on her travels in Italy. Is it a real novel, and what importance does it hold for Marge, Dickie, and Ripley? SPOILERS AHEAD

My Atrani is Fictional But an Important Clue in Ripley

Everything is fictional in Netflix’s ‘Ripley,’ which is based on the book, ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ by Patricia Highsmith. The character of Marge Sherwood and the book that she is working on is also entirely fictional. However, they become important plot devices, especially Marge’s book, even though they may seem irrelevant in the beginning.

Originally titled ‘Atrani,’ the book’s title is changed to ‘My Atrani’ at the suggestion of Tom Ripley, who had received Marge’s draft to have a look over and give her suggestions about her work. Despite her dislike for Tom, Marge cannot deny that his notes are rather helpful. Not only does she keep the changes he suggested, but she also changes the name of the book.

It starts out as a story about her travels, particularly in Atrani, where she has been living for the past year. Initially, the place is good as a setting due to the relaxed lifestyle she leads there, but later, it takes on another meaning, as she connects its memories with Dickie, who disappears without a trace from her life. Following Freddie Miles’ murder, Dickie’s name lands on the suspect’s list, and his continued absence and evasion of the authorities make him a person of interest as a primary suspect.

As the mystery about Freddie’s murder and Dickie’s absence deepens, the narrative about the whole thing begins to fracture, especially as the police seem to be able to do nothing about it. This increases the public’s curiosity and drives up the interest in Marge’s book due to her association with Dickie. People are interested in finding out more about Dickie and his time in Italy, especially Atrani, and tragic as the loss of her boyfriend is, it does give a boost to Marge.

By the time the book is published, it has been a while since everyone accepted that Dickie is gone for good. The case is closed, and no one is thinking about Dickie anymore. But then, Marge sends a copy of the book to the lead investigator in Freddie’s murder, and he is shocked to see the real Dickie’s picture on the dedication page of the book. This is a huge revelation as not only does it put a lot of things into perspective, but it also shows the detective how blind he had been, missing what was right in front of him. In this manner, the book becomes an important plot device in the story.

Read More: Is Tom Ripley Gay? Does He Love Dickie?