The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A True Story by Elisabeth Tova BaileyThe Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A True Story by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A True Story

byElisabeth Tova Bailey

Hardcover | August 24, 2010

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In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Tova Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her 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 understanding of her own place in the world.

Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, offering a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal.

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 can illuminate our own human existence, while providing an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.
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...
Title:The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A True StoryFormat:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 7.31 × 5.31 × 0.75 inPublished:August 24, 2010Publisher:Algonquin BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1565126068

ISBN - 13:9781565126060

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Unusual Memoir Elisabeth Tova Bailey is bedridden with a mysterious disease that has left her paralyzed but she finds meaning in her life through observing a small woodland snail!! The snail served as her entertainment, her connection to a world beyond her own suffering and gave her hope and strength to carry on and wait for her health to improve. Being bedridden she is cut-off from the world and lives like a “hermit” just like her snail. Ms. Bailey does not complain about her illness, her time is better spent being curious about her snail and marvelling at how resilient it is. By watching so intently and being a studious pupil, Bailey tells us she wants to fight her illness but that wouldn’t have been possible without her snail. The latter part of the book reads more like a textbook on snails and other mollusks, but I would have liked to hear more of Bailey’s life and her thoughts about her illness. There is one line in the book that I will quote here because I find it is so very, very true. “Illness isolates; the isolated become invisible; the invisible become forgotten.” Anyone who reads this is going to love it and it’s not like your typical memoir, it’s a very different type of story which you’ll thoroughly enjoy!
Date published: 2011-03-05

Editorial Reviews

WINNER OF THE WILLIAM SAROYAN INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR NONFICTION (2012)   WINNER OF THE JOHN BURROUGHS MEDAL (2011) NATIONAL OUTDOOR BOOK AWARD FOR 2010 in Natural History Literature BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE AWARD, FINALIST for Inspirational Memoir TOP TEN ADULT SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY BOOKS FOR 2010, Booklist BEST BOOKS OF 2010: MORE OF THE BEST, Library Journal GREAT TITLES TO ADD TO THE NYT BEST OF 2010, Huffington PostPraise: “Beautiful.” —Edward O. Wilson “Universal, deeply felt, and with an enormously generous soul, the gently told story grants readers a heightened appreciation for the ever-shrinking, ever-fascinating, secretive parts of our unkempt world.” —Alexandra Fuller for The Daily Beast “How interesting can a snail be? Entirely captivating, as it turns out. [Bailey] is a marvelous writer, and the marriage of science and poetic mysticism that characterizes this small volume is magical.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune “[Bailey] found comfort in an unlikely companion--a tiny snail, whose micro-doings are the source of a surprising philosophy.” —Entertainment Weekly “An exquisite meditation on the restorative connection between nature and humans. . . Bailey's slim book is as richly layered as the soil she lays down in the snail's terrarium: loamy, potent, and regenerative.” —The Huffington Post “[A] small, quiet masterpiece, already destined to become a classic.” —Washington Times “A spare, beautifully quirky grace note of a book.” —Family Circle “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.” — “This elegant little gem is a triumph.”—Maine Sunday Telegram