Franzen's glasses stolen at launch

Franzen's glasses stolen at launch

<p>&nbsp;Jonathan Franzen&#39;s eventful week in the UK turned criminal last night when, in a bizarre incident, two gatecrashers stole his glasses at his launch party at the Serpentine Gallery and left the <em>Freedom</em> author a ransom note demanding $100,000 for their return. </p><p>Around 8pm, two men, claiming to work for Puffin, gatecrashed the party at the Serpentine Gallery and approached Franzen. One snatched his glasses and escaped, before the other handed the stunned author a ransom note and also fled into Kensington Gardens. </p><p>The note read: &quot;$100,000 - Your glasses are yours again!&quot; and left a Hotmail address.</p><p>As news spread around an incredulous party, a police helicopter was tasked to search for the thieves, who had fled across the Serpentine. One of them was apprehended hiding in the bushes and Franzen&#39;s glasses were returned to the author unharmed. Press Books m.d. John Bond said: &quot;Franzen got his glasses back and will not be pressing charges as he sees it all as a harmless prank.&quot;</p><p>After <em>The Bookseller </em>broke the news on Twitter, the evening had another twist when north London independent The Big Green Bookshop mischievously listed a pair of glasses on eBay as the stolen pair, later reported as fact by some news organisations.</p><p>Since arriving in the UK last week, Franzen has learned the British version of <em>Freedom </em>carried a number of typesetting errors, leading publisher HarperCollins to <a href="../news/130064-harpercollins-uk-offers-exchange-for-franzens-freedom.html" target="_blank">reprint and offer an exchange</a> to anyone who bought the faulty version. Yesterday he was late for a BBC radio interview after his<br />taxi failed to show up.</p><p>The party had started with both HarperCollins c.e.o. and publisher Victoria Barnsley and Fourth Estate publishing director Nicholas Pearson apologising profusely for the typesetting error. Barnsley said: &quot;It&#39;s the novel of the year if not the decade . . . [but] we are deeply deeply sorry. It was a terrible mistake and shouldn&#39;t have happened.&quot;</p><p>Pearson said: &quot;I know I have let Jonathan down. My primary role is as Jonathan&#39;s publisher and I take full responsibility. I apologise for the embarrassment I have caused.&quot;</p><p>Franzen seemed to brush it off, although he did describe the typesetting error as &quot;a big deal&quot;. He spoke of a conversation with a publishing friend who quoted Roger Straus, referring to the event as &quot;a fart in the wind&quot;.</p><p>Franzen said: &quot;Let&#39;s talk no more of it.&quot; This was before the drama of his eyewear unfolded.</p><p><a href="../blogs/130188-specs-appeal.html" target="_blank"><strong>Blog: Specs Appeal&nbsp;</strong></a></p>