The snail in question was nibbling at night on flower petals, or sometimes portabello mushrooms, nibbling with the consistent chomp of a creature with a thousand teeth. As the author, Elizabeth Tova Bailey puts it, "the comforting sound of the snail’s miniscule munching.”
Bailey, a young woman on the move, was struck down by a mysterious viral illness while traveling. Her recovery, after many years of debilitation, is ongoing. But at her lowest ebb, lying in bed unable even to read or watch tv, she became entranced watching the measured movements and slowed down activities of a wild snail, given to her by a caregiver. The snail became her constant companion.
This superlative small book is about that snail, and snails in general, as well as about recovery, solace, curiosity, and patience.
People eat snails, too, of course, though I always felt the pleasure of "escargots" were 3/4 garlic, white wine, parsley and butter, and 1/4 odd, chewy blackish critter. Snails require purging, you know, a tedious, time-consuming business involving great unpleasantness for the snail over 5 days---fasting, followed by evacuation of snail innards, followed by finishing off the snail by boiling, followed by removal of an organ or two, followed by a briny bath.
So one wonders, why would anyone bother? Better to trap a squirrel, maybe. Or some other small mammal. Or just eat a portabello mushroom cooked up with all that white wine, garlic, butter and parsley.
( Tks to Travel Signposts for the escargots pic.)
NB The book was published in 2010 by Algonquin Books. You can buy it on Kindle by zooming down to the end of this blog page.