The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a quiet little masterpiece of a memoir. The book, centered around a year of the author’s life when she finds herself bedridden with a debilitating illness, takes us deep within an introspective, spiraling path that echoes the pattern of her small friend’s shell. The life of a small woodland snail unexpectedly frames and obsesses Bailey’s vision of her limited world, leading her to learn all she can about its unique life, senses, and consciousness. Peppered with quotations from 19th century naturalists, Bailey’s narrative is, like a snail, meditative, humble, lovely, and downright amazing. Beware: reading this book will almost inevitably lead to a sudden uptick in the desire to keep a snail of your own.