Rated of 5
by Cloggie Downunder
slow down and see the snails
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.