After a trip abroad, Bailey contracted a terrible illness that almost killed her. In fact, it kept her bedridden for more than a decade. In that time, she had to learn to live the very constrained life she was capable of, even as she was robbed of mobility, strength, and everything she understood to be who she was. When a friend, knowing how much she missed the outdoors, brings a tiny wild snail and a small violet plant into Bailey's room, she can't have predicted the outcome. Bailey is fascinated by the snail, watching the small mollusc as it explores its new home, learning about the tiny creature in scientific terms, and uncovering other authors and poets who have, in their turn, been intrigued by and written about snails.
The book is a short one, easily read but it is a true gem for all its brevity, combining the inner life of a thoughtful and careful writer with the simple but elegant outer life of a snail. It is gorgeous, introspective, and quiet. It's filled with fascinating information and lovely passages. It is sustaining in the way that the best writing is and I hope that people who might not think to look at the beauty of a snail's life will in fact find their way to this book.
Thanks to Algonquin books for sending me a copy of this book for review.