We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

‘A blistering story’ STYLIST | A distinctive voice’ OBSERVER | A skilful, absorbing novel that is so much about seeing and being seen’ SPECTATOR

Searingly incisive, darkly funny and achingly poignant, Wet Paint is a novel about attempting to navigate the world as a twenty-something woman, exploring the highs and lows of friendship, love and loss.

Since the death of her best friend Grace, twenty-six-year-old Eve has learned to keep everything and everyone at arm’s length. Safe in her detachment, she scrapes along waiting tables and cleaning her shared flat in exchange for cheap rent, finding solace in her small routines.

But when a chance encounter at work brings her past thundering into her present, Eve becomes consumed by painful memories of Grace. And soon her precariously maintained life begins to unravel: she loses her job, gets thrown out of her flat, and risks pushing away the one decent man who cares about her.

Taking up life-modelling to pay the bills, Eve lays bare her body but keeps hidden the mounting chaos inside her head. When her self-destructive urges spiral out of control, she’s forced to confront the traumatic event that changed the course of her life, and to finally face her grief and guilt.

Perfect for fans of Conversations with Friends, Luster and My Year of Rest and Relaxation.


A beautiful story made all the richer by Ashby's deep understanding of the profound presence of art in everyday life.
Sareeta Domingo, author of Who's Loving You
A beautiful exploration of how grief can derail the sense of self at a crucial time in your 20s, shot through with dark humour & hope. I felt like Eve was my mate, and was desperate for her to sort it out!
Wet Paint is a clever, gripping novel in which art and life reflect on and imitate one another.
Laura Price
A devastatingly raw depiction of one young woman's grief, Wet Paint is a story about mental health and sexual assault with tenderness at its heart. I was heavily invested in Eve's story and I felt my own kind of grief when it ended. Moving, brave and hauntingly beautiful.
Lydia Ruffles, author of The Taste of Blue Light
An utterly absorbing story of art, friendship, love, and loss. Perfect for fans of Anna Hope's Expectation but very much its own tender, dark, funny, vivid thing.
Laura Kay, author of The Split
Dark, witty and totally compelling.
Jendella Benson, author of Hope & Glory
Poignant, at times heart-wrenching, but liberally sprinkled with dry wit. This is a novel about grief, trauma and life-saving relationships. What I liked most about it is that even as Eve spiralled and struggled with loss, guilt and depression, she had people in her life who never gave up on her, so I closed this book feeling warm and hopeful
A skilful, absorbing novel that is so much about seeing and being seen.
With a careful, subtle, and compassionate description of the ways in which a life may be shaped by loss, Ashby creates a realistic and elegant portrait of a young woman beginning to recover herself from bereavement.
Emma Gannon, author of Olive
This isn't a book you read, but a book you step into. Chloe Ashby has created a mesmerising and energetic world of grief, art and self discovery. I loved Eve and spending time with her on every page.
Olivia Sudjic, author of Asylum Road
In this poised, heartfelt debut, Ashby paints a raw, richly-detailed portrait of untethered youth, friendship and suppressed grief.
What marks Ashby out as a distinctive voice is the warmth and compassion with which she depicts her characters and their milieu.
Annie Lord
Wet Paint is a searing exploration of grief, friendship and what it is to grow up. It made me laugh but also cry. I will think about this book for a long time.
Lucia Osborne-Crowley, author of My Body Keeps Your Secrets
Wet Paint is a brilliant, heart-rending novel that explores grief and loss with expert precision. Beautifully written and exquisitely told, this story is delicate, powerful and honest all at once. This is an unforgettable novel, and I'll read anything Chloe Ashby writes.
Abigail Bergstrom
A courageous and unwinding exploration of female pain. Ashby's writing suspends you into the high waves of grief and keeps your feet wet in the puddles of unprocessed trauma. Dark, funny and hopeful, it's a remarkable story.
Francesca Reece, author of Voyeur
A compelling exploration of enduring grief, and a striking portrait of the intensity and fragility of the friendships that form us. Darkly funny and relatable - a great read about love, art, and navigating the trials of learning how to be an adult.
A blistering story of one girl's attempts to outmanoeuvre past trauma, loss and rejection only to find her life descending into chaos