And - Chapters 1-8
"The house was full of packing-cases. Even the pretty lawn at the side was to pack up, stiffly and slowly, through the bare echoing November. The very robin that her father had so often made, with his own hands, more gorgeous than ever; amber and golden; here, at this bed of thyme, began to speak of carrots. The grand inarticulate mighty roar."
I recently made contact, after many years, with an old college friend called Katrin McGibbon. When I inquired what she was doing, she revealed that she was abridging Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South for the radio. As a joke, I suggested that instead of trying to reduce the size of the book without losing any of the essentials, it might be an idea to discard all the important bits and keep the other stuff. Then I had a go at using this method myself, and found it to be both more difficult and much more rewarding than I had expected. I intend to abridge the whole book in this way, and the first eight chapters are now online.
- Edward Picot