The classic he-said/she-said story gets a dark turn as Liz and Eddy, a pair of overeducated and underemployed young people from the Maritimes renting a basement apartment in Vancouver (what were they thinking?), take turns responding to a relationship survey in this disarmingly frank new novel from Cape Breton native Susan Farrell. The form, which has Liz and Eddy addressing their notes from the underground into a recording device, is emblematic of the doomed couple’s failure to communicate directly with each other. This is, in turn, a defense mechanism since there are many things they don’t want to know. Bleak and contemporary, realistic and experimental, Farrell’s debut is confident enough to try something different, and skilful enough to make most of it work.