The casual, tentative, attractive title is deceptive--so are many of the intimations and premonitions in this first novel which subsists on contrasts. It is both lyrical and literal, graphic and suggestive, overt and sequestered and altogether successful in translating an emotional relationship between two young people. Chris is 23, a graduate student; Ellen is 21, and after a year's interim they marry and spend a month at her grandfather's lodge in Michigan. She is two months pregnant and her background (the accident in which her parents were killed after which her grandparents destroyed every remnant of their lives except a ring; her grandparents, and their repressive, judgmental disapproval) does much to explain her withdrawal, her ""sad sashay and silence."" He is trying to reconcile ""where I'm going, and am"" with the reality of marriage, a child, an unknown future and his own precious equilibrium (jealousy, recrimination, rejection). He buys a gun, the ""arbiter"" of death, and much of the edgy momentum of the novel resides in the unexplained tragedy of the past and the ominous possibilities ahead which life resolves differently. Not innocuous inevitable YA but worth considering--Mr. Woiwode manages to finger experience with a remarkably true touch.