First the UK edition of Freedom goes to press from an error-littered earlier draft. Then, at the book launch, a pair of thieves claiming to work for Puffin seize the glasses from his face and leave a ransom note demanding $100,000 for their return. When apprehended, one of the thieves claims to be a better writer than Franzen. From this we can surmise that the thieves were American, or they would have demanded pounds or euros. Clearly this is some sort of publicity stunt or attempt at a book deal. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the thieves are in the employ of Franzen himself, who clearly will stop at nothing until he achieves world-wide literary domination. Here’s the eyewitness account by Bookseller news editor Graeme Neill.
Franzen, calling the prank harmless, declined to press charges.