Morris, Robert Bruce
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Anthony is an architect who idolizes Mid-Century Modern design. When he and his wife, Abby, move into a glass house in the suburbs, his obsession with order surfaces as his persona begins to shatter. On the simplest level, living together tests the couple's ability to cohabitate. But the probing presence of a difficult neighbor named Jane pushes their difficulties into a true crisis. Jane, an African American, suspects that Anthony, who looks to be of Middle Eastern descent, is a terrorist. The situation is particularly loaded because Jane, who has erased all traces of her cultural ethnicity, takes pride in her conservatism as a leader in a lily white community fighting to remain that way. Her husband, Tad, a local Wasp, tries to temper her tirades, but to know avail, and as things fall apart in Abby's marriage, she finds him increasingly attractive. In the end, Anthony's lie is revealed: He is not of European descent as he has always said, but is from a first generation Muslim family. Abby cannot accept his life as a lie and leaves him. Architect quotes and 1950s flashbacks illuminate the ironies of design fetishism throughout.