‘‘A Map of Tripoli, 1967’’ opens in the city of Tripoli, Libya, in the months before the Six Day War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. Mantini, the Jewish shopkeeper, is opening his crystal store with the help of his shop boy, Mohammed. The American woman Carla has been in town for barely a month and is navigating the narrow streets of Tripoli in her Volkswagen, searching for Mantini’s shop.
While maneuvering through the streets, Carla remembers when her husband, Ben, who works at the United States Embassy, picked her up at the airport a month earlier and then immediately rushed off to an assignment in Egypt, leaving her to settle in by herself. Her husband had changed his way of speaking and his looks since Carla last saw him, and this disoriented her. She also remembers Moham- med coming to her house, on loan from Mantini to iron Ben’s shirts. Mohammed suggested then that Carla look for crystal at Mantini’s shop.
When Carla finally finds Mantini’s shop, he is gracious, and she finds him charming. They talk about what crystal she is interested in buying, and he mentions Lucia. Carla expresses her sympathy for Lucia’s death. Mantini sends Mohammed out for coffee, and when she drinks it Carla becomes faint from its strength. Mantini is tender with her, placing her head in his lap and putting ice cubes wrapped in a cloth on her forehead. He tells her a little about his life, how he has moved...
(The entire section is 1025 words.)
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