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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating Hardcover – 24 Aug 2010


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill; 1 edition (24 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565126068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565126060
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,424,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elisabeth Tova Bailey's essays and short stories have been published in the Missouri Review, Northwest Review, and the Sycamore Review. Her work has received several Pushcart Prize nominations, and the essay on which this book is based received a notable essay listing in Best American Essays. She lives in Maine in the United States.

For more reviews of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating and for radio interviews, upcoming events, and photos, please visit the author's own website at the following address:

www.elisabethtovabailey.net

For readers in the United Kingdom, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating launches on September 23, 2010, by Green Books.

Image credits:
Portrait of the author by E. LaRoche
Photo of terrarium by D. Smith

Product Description

Review

'While she lay critically ill Elisabeth Bailey's bedside snail exposed the rich sedimentary layers of her awareness and gifted her the will to live. In an unfussy, meticulous style she has written a finely-crafted eulogy to a common woodland snail and a moving endorsement of the human spirit.' --Sir John Lister-Kaye, author of Song of the Rolling Earth: A Highland Odyssey and At The Water's Edge, A Personal Quest for Wildness. '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. 'Beautiful.' --Edward O. Wilson, author of The Diversity of Life. --Reviews.

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

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

'This slim, thoughtful book is a miniature masterpiece.' --The Independent

'With exquisite delicacy, Bailey doesn't mention the French enthusiasm for eating them with garlic butter. In fact, if the only time you think about snails is when you storm into the garden to wreak vengeance on them for ravaging your hostas, Bailey's beautifully written, brief memoir may change your views forever.' --The Daily Mail --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Elisabeth Tova Bailey's essays and short stories have been published in the Missouri Review, Northwest Review and the Sycamore Review. She has received several Pushcart Prize nominations, and lives in Maine. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Alison TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is an unusual and special book. The author, Elisabeth Bailey, is struck down by a severe and chronically debilitating illness and is largely confined to her bed for a long period of time. One day a friend brings her some woodland violets and a snail as a gift. Elisabeth asks why her friend brought the snail and the friend says "I don't know. I thought you might enjoy it." There begins an unusual relationship between human and snail which certainly does bring much enjoyment to the author. The snail helps Elisabeth in her confinement and helps her on her journey of convalescence.

The presentation of the book is lovely, there are several small pencil drawings of snails and occasional plants throughout the book. Elisabeth gives an occasional biology lesson in the pages of the book, but the book is really about human spirit, the beauty of nature in it's many forms and how, when we slow down and look, we can see so much in even the smallest things.

A heart warming book that is original, moving and enlightening.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By marcoscu TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When the author is invalided by a devastating virus, a friend brings a snail from the woods in a gift of a pot of wild violets; so begins the enchanting tale of a strange and unusual relationship, between a bedridden woman and the snail who is, for most of her days, her only companion.

A story about the true nature of friendship, of the interconnectedness of all living things disguised as a series of musings on the nature of snails; I've rarely read so a book so delightful and touching. A beautiful book, and a wise one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cloggie Downunder TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Feb. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Elisabeth Tova Bailey's latest work, "The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating" has a title that naturally intrigues. Is this book really about snails? And if so, how interesting or exciting can that be? Is reading this book going to be like watching paint dry or grass grow? And can you actually hear a wild snail eating? The answer to the last question is "yes", but don't leave it at that. This book is worth your time: you will very likely read it in one sitting.
Bailey finds herself in a situation of enforced inactivity. It is the reader's good fortune that she uses her time to share her observations of Neohelix albolabris, the White-lipped forest snail. Bailey displays a great insight into her own situation. She identifies with her snail: they are both homebound; both prisoners; both displaced from their usual familiar environment. Bailey's isolation is kept at bay by her snail (as hard as this may be to believe!). We are treated to quite a different perspective of the world. This book is full of easily-digestible information about snails and delightful quotes and anecdotes about snails from various literary sources. And, as unlikely as it may seem, there is also philosophy, humour and sex.
This book is truly a pleasure to read. And after reading it, you may well hesitate as your hand reaches for the snail pellets, next time you go into the garden.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tomatzso on 11 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Molluscs would not be my first choice of subject when selecting a book to read; however this book was passed to me, to divert me while I kept sleeping children company in the car.

I was quickly hooked - the book is very well written, and snails are in fact far odder and more curious than I had ever imagined. But the book is not really about snails - more about a wonderful human spirit overcoming a truly debilitating illness.

In the same category of inspirational literature as the Diving Bell and the Butterfly, however this story has a happier ending.

Would recommend it to anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Harrison VINE VOICE on 5 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an absolutely wonderful book. Struck down by a mystery illness, for months on end Elisabeth Tova Bailey's world is reduced to what little she can see from a horizontal position as her strength slowly fails. A tiny snail, living at first on a pot of violets by her bed and later in a terrarium, entrances her and leads her through her illness to a lyrical meditation not just on the life of a mollusc, but on the noumenon of all living things and on what it is to be alive.

She writes absolutely beautifully, with humour and without self-pity, but what pulls you through the text is not just the fascination with which she imbues the life of a snail, but your desperate, growing wish for her to get better and for her own story to come to some kind of positive conclusion.

This is an enchanting and lyrical book with a scope much more vast than its humble subject-matter would suggest; only a mind as agile and creative as Tova Bailey's could take flight so beautifully from so little. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Otherkin on 29 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Elisabeth Tova Bailey's 'The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating' is a gem of a book. It is an autobiographical account of the author's months of illness and yet the focus of the story is on a snail. There is something very attractive about someone who can use their suffering as an adjunct to a hopeful and warm story of a tiny mollusc. By the end of this short and well written book I shared the author's love for the little creature and my view of snails (which I have never eaten) is changed forever.

The snail is given to Elisabeth Tova Bailey by a visiting friend and lives by her bedside. She naturally draws parallels between her own bed-ridden isolation away from her home with that of the snail in its terrarium which replaces its natural woodland habitat. Barely strong enough to lift a book, she begins to read about the development, physiology and daily life of a snail and shares with her reader quotations from eighteen century observations through to the present day. Along the way we learn of things we never imagined about the common snail, while the love which grows in the author transmits itself, page by page, as she keeps the snail's company through months of illness.

This book is a testament to the importance, especially at this time of approaching Christmas festivities, of the human need to be connected to the natural world. Forget about the shopping mall. This book, which is beautifully printed and presented, will make the best possible present for anyone who knows a worthwhile read when they see one. Beautiful to handle and beautiful to read.
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