By now you may have heard that Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the protagonist of Dave Eggers' 2009 book Zeitoun, is in jail for allegedly beating his ex-wife, but the latest addition to Zeitoun's legal troubles is even darker: He's accused of plotting her murder. New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter Laura Maggi was only able to eek one line of detail from police about the charge of murder solicitation against Zeitoun: "New Orleans police detectives received 'credible information' that he was 'orchestrating a plan' to kill his ex-wife, her son and another man, Remi Braden, an NOPD spokeswoman, said in an email."
In Eggers' book, Zeitoun was depicted as a good man who was wrongfully arrested while helping his neighbors in post-Katrina New Orleans. In his review, The New York Times' Timothy Egan described Zeitoun as "the kind of neighbor you wish you could find at Home Depot." In recent years, though, Zeitoun has been in and out of police custody for charges, primarily relating to his ex-wife Kathy Zeitoun. In March 2011, he was arrested and convicted of domestic battery. Their divorce was finalized earlier this year, but Zeitoun has been in jail since July 25 for allegedly attacking her in the street. On Tuesday, The Awl's Dave Bry wrote that the latest report from New Orleans had changed his opinion of Eggers "beautifully written" book: "It bothered me very much in its depiction of its eponymous hero as a flawless human being."
At the time, Zeitoun has only been charged, not convicted, on the murder solicitation charge, but if eventually proven in court, it would take Zeitoun's story from flawed to something much more sinister.