Synopses & Reviews
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.
'With warmth and intelligence, Bailey observes this little mollusk at her bedside. Readers will find her mental journey remarkable and her courage irresistible. I am very taken with this small book.' --Maxine Kumin'If rapt attention is a kind of prayer, then this is a prayerful book. Bailey pays homage to splendors small and humble enough to fit inside a terrarium beside her sickbed.' --Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Private History of Awe
'Beautiful.' --Edward O. Wilson
'I love [The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating] with all my heart . . . It"s moving and beautiful . . . funny and sweet and wise and profound.' --Jane Hamilton"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
"The author found solace--and good material--in watching a snail." --People
A woman, confined to her bed, watches a snail on her night stand, living a life that mirrors the limitations of her own. What follows is an oddly compelling story of her discovery of companionship and beauty in the most unexpected of creatures.
About the Author
Elisabeth Tova Bailey's essays and short stories have been published in the Missouri Review, Northwest Review, and the Sycamore Review. She has received several Pushcart Prize nominations, and the essay on which this book is based received a notable essay listing in Best American Essays. She lives in Maine.