Jonathan Franzen and Stephen Colbert just secretly trolled Amazon — and it's brilliant

The author stopped by "The Late Show" to tell a bedtime scary story about the fate of indie bookstores

Published October 29, 2015 2:35PM (EDT)


It would be tough for us to pick our favorite moment of Jonathan Franzen's trolling-filled “Purity"press tour, but we must admit, we were pretty tickled by the Great American Author’s visit to “The Late Show” last night, during which he took the time to regale Stephen Colbert with a bedtime story.

Of course, this is Jonathan Franzen we’re talking about, so the bedtime story was actually a thinly-veiled polemic: A metaphorical yarn about “Little Red Reading Hood” whose grandmother’s beloved local independent bookstore was taken over by a wolf, with disturbingly big eyes (“the better to see your consumer preferences and target you with advertising”), big ears ("to hear your opinions on the products I sell,”) big hands ("the better to give you free overnight shipping,”) and big teeth (“to gobble up every retailer in the world.”)

Is Jonathan Franzen taking a not-so-subtle jab at Amazon, of whose leader Jeff Bezos he once said "may not be the antichrist, but he surely looks like one of the four horsemen”? Hmm! We’ll let you puzzle that out for yourselves, but please note that the segment ends with Colbert pulling a copy of “Purity” out of an overnight shipping box.

By Anna Silman

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Amazon Jonathan Franzen Stephen Colbert The Late Show