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"The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating" (Encore presentation.)

By Rich Fisher


Tulsa, Oklahoma – (Note: This show originally aired in October of last year.) On our show today, we chat with Elisabeth Tova Bailey, an author whose essays and short stories have appeared in the Missouri Review, the Sycamore Review, and other literary journals. Bailey has a mysterious yet severe ailment that often keeps her bedridden and all but drained of energy; basically, at such difficult times, her body is unable to convert nourishment from food and drink into physical "fuel." It was during a year-long bout with this illness some time ago when her new book had its origin. That origin was this: a friend brought Bailey some freshly cut wildflowers, and a snail was living among those flowers. "The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating" thus describes Bailey's many and various --- and highly perceptive --- encounters with a common woodland snail. Though confined to her bed and essentially motionless, she watches carefully as the snail takes up residence on her nightstand. What the snail eats (and does not eat), where it climbs, how it moves, when (and why) it waves its tentacles, the sounds that it makes --- all of this and more memorably unfolds in Bailey's engaging, contemplative prose. Hailed by Kirkus Reviews as "a charming, delicate meditation on the meaning of life" and by Edward O. Wilson as "beautiful," "The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating" is ultimately about what we can learn of our world, and of ourselves, when we stop and take a long, slow gaze at the natural phenomena surrounding us.