Home > 2010, 21st Century, Blyton Enid, British Literature, Children Literature, Classic Revisited, Corporate Life, Corporate Novels, Personal Posts > Five Go on a Strategy Away Day by Enid Blyton/Bruno Vincent – The Famous Five in the corporate world

Five Go on a Strategy Away Day by Enid Blyton/Bruno Vincent – The Famous Five in the corporate world

December 10, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

Five Go on a Strategy Away Day by Enid Blyton/Bruno Vincent. (2018) French title: Le Club des Cinq part en séminaire. Translated and adapted by Anne-Laure Estèves.

I belong to a generation who fell in love with crime fiction by reading The Famous Five (in French, Le Club des Cinq), Nancy Drew (in French, Alice), Fantômette, a French series with a female super-hero, The Secret Seven (in French, Le Clan des Sept) and Les Six Compagnons, a French series set in Lyon. I remember devouring these books and requesting frequent trips to the library.

These are wonderful reading memories, books that led me to Agatha Christie and many other crime fiction writers.

So, when I saw Five Go on a Strategy Away Day, just before going to one of those myself, I couldn’t resist the impulse to discover how the Famous Five would deal with modern management techniques. It’s a small vintage publication that plays well on the nostalgia felt by readers like me. They replicated the original feel of the covers, the illustrations inside. The translation technique is the same as well: everything is adapted to the French setting, the theme song, the metro and train rides, the food. That’s what translators used to do and sometimes not only for children literature.

Our five friends Julian, George, Dick, Anne and Timothy (respectively in French, François, Claude, Mick, Annie and Dagobert) work for the same firm –well, not Timmy, obviously—and are going on a strategy away day. They go to Normandy, in a remote farm and are welcome by consultants who are going to manage the various activities of the day. We found there all the common team building techniques that everyone working in the corporate world at a management position has experienced. The relaxation consultant, the blind-you-teammate-and-make-them-reach-point-A-to-point-B-without-bumping-into-objects, the post-its moments to note down ideas, the personality tests whose result will help you know who you are and help you communicate efficiently with colleagues and team members and the inevitable race in the woods to bring flags home.

All of it is described quickly and accurately as we see our childhood fictional friends navigate the corporate sea. It’s not the book of the year but it’s a nice journey-into-the past experience laced with a healthy dose of self-mockery. It reminds you that management techniques are useful but one needs to keep their critical mind and use them wisely.

  1. December 10, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I got the English language version of this for a friend and fellow trainer, because we sometimes cringe at the things we have to do to participants at away days. Would love to see the French version, for obvious cultural studies reasons…

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    • December 12, 2019 at 7:48 am

      I didn’t know what the English was for “séminaire”, now I know it’s “away days”
      Send me you address by email and I’ll send it to you. You’ll see the French version, with the vintage edition that really mirrors the children edition of La bibliothèque rose.

      Like

  2. December 10, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    I think I may have one of these which takes a pop at Brexit…. 😉

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  3. December 11, 2019 at 7:32 am

    Now I remember why I got out of middle management. Ok, because I couldn’t be MD, but also strategy away days. I didn’t read much Blyton either, unless there was nothing else to hand. William books are much better.

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    • December 12, 2019 at 7:36 am

      What’s MD? And who’s William?
      In French a lot of the Famous Five books were original stories written by the translator.

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  4. December 12, 2019 at 5:20 am

    Ah, le club des cinq!!

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    • December 12, 2019 at 7:37 am

      N’est-ce pas ! 😊

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