The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Published by Algonquin Books, an imprint of Workman Publishing
While on vacation in Europe, Elizabeth Tova Bailey contracted some sort inexplicable illness. Doctors and specialists were unable to ever determine what she had come down with, unsure even whether her illness was viral or bacterial. From time to time, significant flare ups of her mystery disease left Tova Bailey bedridden for months at a time. On one such occasion, she was forced to leave the rambling old barn she called home to live in a sterile little apartment where she could be better taken care of. It may have been a convenient place for her caregiver, but it wasn’t a particularly life-affirming place for Elizabeth – until a visiting friend brought her a tiny woodland snail. Having a piece of the natural world at her bedside gave Elizabeth a purpose and rhythm to her days that was otherwise lacking.
The story of a chronic illness could so easily be fraught with distress and depression, and the story of a snail could so easily be boring. “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating,” however, was simply lovely. The writing was straightforward but strong, and the insight into Tova Bailey’s thoughts, frustrations, and joys over the course of her convalescence was clear and meaningful. It was also amazing just how fascinating learning about a snail could be in Elizabeth Tova Bailey’s hands. Her intimate emotional connection to the subject matter was evident with every word, and that made this a very special and heart-warming read.
Thanks to Beth Fish Reads, who has helped me to become more aware of the imprints I love over the past year, beginning with her Amy Einhorn Perpetual Challenge. Follow her blog for regular spotlights of some of her favorite imprints.
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