Picture study: Second Self, by Chloë Ashby, reviewed

Having established a name for herself as a talented art critic for the national press, Chloë Ashby employs her expertise with illuminating effect in her fiction. In her first novel, Wet Paint, she used the uncomfortable gaze of the barmaid in Manet’s ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’ to explore how her protagonist sees and is seen. In her new novel, Second Self, the central painting is ‘View of Scheveningen Sands’ by Hendrick van Anthonissen, which again becomes an insightful parallel to the protagonist’s life. Cathy, 35, an art conservationist, is happily married to Noah, 11 years her senior, an academic and authority on international relations. Home is a flat in