How can a small book about a tiny gastropod be so hugely fascinating? This quirky gem is hopeful, humbling, and the perfect read for spring.
— Northshire Staff
An elegant meditation on illness, recovery, and the speed of life. with excellent side notes on the science of snails and mollusks in general! — Northshire Staff
In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her uncommon encounter with a Neohelix albolabris—a common woodland snail.
While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater under standing of her own confined place in the world.
Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, providing a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal.
Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence and provides an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.
About the Author
Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s essays and short stories have been published in the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, the Missouri Review, Northwest Review, and the Sycamore Review. The hardcover edition of The Sound of Wild Snail Eating was a Barnes & Noble Discover title, an Indie Next Pick, and a Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Bailey has received several Pushcart Prize nominations (in addition to the awards listed above), and the essay on which this book is based received a Notable Essay Listing in Best American Essays. She is on the Writers Council for the National Writing Project. Winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, she lives in Maine.
"The author found solace--and good material--in watching a snail." --People magazine
"Though illness may rob us of vitality, sometimes it can also help bring us understanding---albeit in improbable disguises . . . Perhaps there's something to be said for moving at a snail's pace." --NPR.org