Warmth and great good humor here--a charmingly dreamy book of short stories that forms itself into an episodic novel about a couple of gay women living together on a houseboat on the Columbia River in Oregon. Lazy LaRue and Pubah--each the great love of the other's life--set up houseboat-keeping together in a rickety, tilty ""riverhouse"" on the Columbia. The shy, fearful Lazy mainly stays at home and writes stories, while Pubah works construction sites as an electrician trainee--""A pioneer woman in the trades."" Their story, told in sad/ funny, quirky short takes, concerns their dreams, cats, friends, ducks, books, meals, and failure at spring cleaning. But it's mostly about love: ""Lazy loved Pubah. . .out past the edges of the world's agreement, beyond even her own standards, her own approval, the rules of her childhood, beyond even her own mind, she loved her and loved loving her."" The fantasy ending has Lazy finally conquering her own fears and taking Pubah up in a balloon that sails over Oregon, revealing the brilliant green beauty of a country that exists for men and women--and men with men, and women with women--alike. Although not without flaws, chief among them a certain cutesiness (Lazy and Pubah sometimes seem more like innocent forest creatures than alive and kicking 80's human beings), this is a first novel with the deft, simple touch of a fable.