The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

By (author) Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Web Description

While an illness keeps her bedridden, Elisabeth Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence in a terrarium alongside her bed. She enters the rhythm of life of this mysterious creature, and comes to a greater understanding of her own confined place in the world. In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, she shares the inspiring and intimate story of her close encounter with Neohelix albolabris – a common woodland snail.

Intrigued by the snail’s world – from its strange anatomy to its mysterious courtship activities – she becomes a fascinated and amused observer of the snail’s curious life. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is an affirmation of the healing power of nature, revealing how much of the world we miss in our busy daily lives, and how truly magical it is.

A remarkable journey of survival and resilience, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating shows how a small part of the natural world can illuminate our own human existence and deepen our appreciation of what it means to be fully alive. 

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Unpublished endorsement

"The book I think is most underrated
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. No one seems to have heard of it. It’s an astonishing book that portrays a woman who’s incapacitated through illness; she’s lying in bed, can’t move, and someone brings her a flower in a pot and on it is a snail. It’s about her relationship with that snail. It may not be Thomas Hardy, or F Scott Fitzgerald; the narrative content is limited. But what she does with it is incredible."

- The Guardian, Books that Made Me