"I missed the book more than a keepsake. I grieved for it as if for a person.... After so many years, I remembered the images with startling clarity, and I knew that my longing for the book had as much to do with the illustrations as with Andersen's text. I wanted the Proustian moment of experiencing once again the effect that had been produced on my by the alchemical combination of the strangeness of the stories and the bright, exotic pictures. I wanted to touch the object I had so often touched as a child....
Szyk's images evoke medieval manuscript illuminations and the miniature paintings of India and Persia. In the illustration for 'The Marsh King's Daughter,
"This slim novel ... became a dark and luminous icon for me," she writes. "It was like a premonition. It made me into a writer, it colored how I became a mother, and images and words from it unfurl themselves in my mind—like dye dropped in water—nearly every day.... Morrison's words from the first instant made me see differently. Made the world controllable with metaphor and simile, made everything a possibility of description inside my own head even while things around me were unutterably dangerous or sad."
Are there are books you prize above all others? That you treasure for personal reasons or that you go back to, time after time? Tomorrow I'll share more great titles and stories from Bound to Last.