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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

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The story of how one wild snail (and one of its 118 offspring) came to the aid of Elisabeth Tova Bailey as she recovered from a devastating illness. A friend dug up some violets and found a small snail, thinking Elisabeth would enjoy them both. A strange gift, but it inspired this remarkable meditation on illness and separation from the outside world. Watching the snail, first in its plant pot and then in a terrarium gave the author a focus when she could do little but lie in bed, her observations leading her into exploring the daily life of the snail, its evolution and history.

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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

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.


'A charming, delicate meditation on the meaning of life'
Kirkus Review.

Edward O. Wilson, author of The Diversity of Life.

'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, author of A Map of the World

About the Author

Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s essays and short stories have been published in the Missouri Review, Northwest Review and the Sycamore Review, and she has received several Pushcart Prize nominations. She lives in Maine.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th September 2010


Elisabeth Tova Bailey

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Green Books


208 pages


The Real World
Biography / Autobiography
Debuts of the Month
Popular Science
eBook Favourites




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