Isabel and Rocco

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Isabel and Rocco spend their days listening to the impassioned arguments of their parents, watching and dissecting the murky activity of London life and taking refuge in their shared attic room. As Isabel catalogues the experiences that will gradually pull her away from childhood, Rocco watches his sister grow up.

When their parents inexplicably abandon them, brother and sister find themselves alone -- free from the restrictions of the adult ...
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Overview

Isabel and Rocco spend their days listening to the impassioned arguments of their parents, watching and dissecting the murky activity of London life and taking refuge in their shared attic room. As Isabel catalogues the experiences that will gradually pull her away from childhood, Rocco watches his sister grow up.

When their parents inexplicably abandon them, brother and sister find themselves alone -- free from the restrictions of the adult world, blinded by childish dreams and desires. As the house disintegrates around them so too do the lines between adolescence and adulthood, innocence and experience. But when crisis looms, their ever-growing dependency on each other is put to the ultimate test.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099443322
  • Publisher: Random House UK
  • Publication date: 6/24/2003
  • Pages: 192

Meet the Author

Anna Stothard was born in 1983. At the age of 16 she was writing novellas and a regular column called 'Teenage Kicks' for The Observer. That summer she worked on Tina Brown's Talk Magazine in New York for a month; it was at this time that she started to write Isabel and Rocco. At the age of eighteen Anna closed her first publishing deal for Isabel and Rocco.

Anna is the daughter of Peter Stothard, ex-editor of The Times and currently editor of the TLS. Her mother is the critically acclaimed novelist Sally Emerson. She is currently spending her gap year in Italy and China before going up to Oxford in autumn 2003.

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Reading Group Guide

This dark and captivating first novel tells of a brother, a sister, and a dangerous love affair. When their parents inexplicably abandon them, Isabel and Rocco find themselves freed from the restrictions of the adult world.

1. Explore the ways in which the distance which forms between our protagonists and their parents brings the siblings closer together.

2. Images of decay and disintegration of the house parallel the family breakdown, how else does the author reflect the growing distance between the parents and their children?

3. How does the discovery that Isabel's father is not suffering from flu (as the narrator initially thinks) but from AIDS contribute to our understanding of the themes in the novel? Do you sympathise with the parents more following this revelation?

4. Discuss Stothard's theme of 'first times' as a structure for the novel.

5. How does losing her virginity change the relationship Isabel has with Rocco? Could this be described as a nodal point in what becomes an unnaturally close relationship?

6. Anna Stothard wrote Isabel and Rocco while she was still at school, do you think such a young author is less able to deal with the somewhat adult themes in the book or do you think her age makes her portrayal of adolescence more convincing?

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