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Book cover of The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge written by Anderson and Yelchin

The children’s book, The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge is written by M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin. The book was published in 2018 by the Candlewick Press.

Fear has big eyes. And what does the world look like when seen through such eyes? This is the question the authors of The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge are trying to answer.

In their phenomenal book they describe and show the real world and the world distorted by emotions, mainly negative emotions such as fear, contempt, complexes or prejudices. The book is composed in a dual way and in all aspects. It consists of both written text and multi-page illustrations. Text and image play an equal narrative role here, complementing each other.

The action takes place in a fantastic land, which is plagued by an eternal battle between beautiful and noble elves and cruel and disgusting goblins. The elves inhabit a rich and fertile land, which only emphasises their superiority over other creatures, while the goblins are content with a poor landscape of inaccessible and dangerous mountains, which in turn is supposed to reflect their backwardness and lack of culture. And although the two peoples have lived side by side for centuries, apart from war nothing unites them. Until an elven envoy is sent on a secret mission to the land of the goblins.

But are these divisions so obvious? Is the world only good or only evil? And does appearance determine real worth?

Mr Anderson and Mr Yelchin don’t so much answer these questions as let the reader find out for themselves and see it all for themselves. With a lot of humour they touch upon the differences between us, be they cultural, world-view or even culinary. And they give us another important message, that for friendship there are no differences.

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