When you try to protect someone from grief, do you prevent them from feeling anything at all? A beautiful debut about a son trying to break free from his father. --Financial Times
A remote corner of Kent is the background to Connolly's magical coming-of-age novel. Growing up, Ellis prefers to spend time on the local farm; later he will develop a talent for photography, but relationships remain a mystery to him in this fierce, humane and hazily poetic work. --Guardian
A warm coming-of-age story that tackles family relationships, secrets, belonging and self-acceptance. Ellis's journey as he blunders through adolescence, breaks free from the shackles of childhood and finally confronts his phobia, is moving and beautiful, as are the rural and coastal settings Connolly describes so vividly. --Coventry Telegraph
In 1980s Kent, quirky youth Ellis is obsessed by the spiders in his country home and by the need to know more about his mother's death. Filmmaker Connolly's touching novel follows Ellis as he muddles toward adulthood and understanding. --Books Quarterly
A funny, moving and quirky coming-of-age story. Hugely enjoyable. --Deborah Moggach
Lyrical, warm and moving, this impressive début is reminiscent of Laurie Lee. --Meera Syal
The Spider Truces is one of those wonderful novels that captures within its pages something of the essence of life as lived. Connolly follows Ellis through his teens and beyond, with a keen eye for the rhythms of family life and growing up. His characterisation is superb. An interview with the author at the back of the book reveals that he is working on two more novels; I very much look forward to reading them. --Bookrabbit
For a first novel there is much to delight. The lyricism and humour, as well as interesting quirks of character and event, draw you in... I could recommend the book purely for the final third, which is moving and beautifully written. Connolly has proved his prose can be exquisite and his imagination original. I will be looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next. --The Argus
This heartfelt, beautifully-constructed, coming-of-age story, set in the very particular landscapes of the Kentish Weald and Romney Marsh, is testimony to the author's profound love of the area and he allows his wonderful protagonist, Ellis, to freely and effortlessly inhabit it.
From early attempts at relationships, to unskilled jobs, flatshares and drug-addled nights on the beach, Ellis muddles his way towards adulthood. What endures is the strength of his bond with his dad, Denny, and his affectionate relationship with his intrepid sister, who turns up whenever he needs her -- a new boyfriend in tow every time. The family banter is Ellis's lifeline and a counterpoint to the constant heartache of his desire to know something -- anything -- about his mother. Meanwhile Denny, an ex-Merchant Navy man, bottles up his grief at the loss of his wife, refusing to talk about her.