The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
(Algonquin Books, 2010, 190 pages)
I never would have thought to pick up this book if I hadn’t read so many glowing reviews. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating encourages you to read the book at a leisurely pace – it’s a small book that you won’t feel compelled to “power through.” I’d argue that it is best suited for reading before bed or early in the morning.
This is essentially a mini-memoir that focuses on a period in Bailey’s life when, struggling through an illness that leaves her effectively incapacitated, she finds herself engrossed in the life of a wild snail. The snail was a surprise guest, smuggled in amidst a bunch of wild violets brought by a friend. The snail provides a sense of companionship for Bailey and the author eventually devotes a great deal of time to learning more about the seemingly unobtrusive snail.
It’s impressive to have stumbled across a writer who can make the life of a snail seem incredibly interesting. The fact that she motivated me to want to learn more about a creature I was once repulsed by is a testament to her writing. It’s a peaceful read that I’d definitely recommend.