8 Jan 2017

Lashings of satire

From The Weekend, 10:45 am on 8 January 2017
Five Go on a Strategy Away Day

Five Go on a Strategy Away Day Photo: Supplied

In case you hadn’t noticed, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five are now all grown up and featuring in a series of new satirical novels.

Anne, Dick and Julian, along with cousin George and her dog Timmy are back in a series of books for adults: Five Go Gluten Free, Five Go on a Strategy Away Day, Five On Brexit Island, Five Go Parenting, and Five Give Up the Booze.

Although the books carry her name, and are approved by her estate, the updated and funny Enid Blyton for Grownups series is written by novelist Bruno Vincent. And he’s been concocting these cheeky books at great pace.

He told Lynn Freeman the books are a respectful homage.

“These aren’t parodies of Enid Blyton, these are official Enid Blyton books, so I try to be funny but not in a laughing at them way. I thought it would be much more fun to have them grow up in a believable way.”

The Enid Blyton estate still sells 2 million books a year and Vincent says he has been careful to not tarnish people’s happy memories of the young Famous Five. 

So how have the Famous Five grown into adulthood? Dick remains affable and likable, Anne is “a little brittle” and beautiful, George a thoroughly modern woman and Julian’s self-confidence has been tempered with a sense of disappointment with his life. Timmy the dog, a good age now, spends a bit more time in his dog bed.   

Five on Brexit Island, Vincent, says has really taken off it was the UK’s number 1 book at Christmas on the Sunday Times list.