cover image The Night of the Moonbow

The Night of the Moonbow

Thomas Tryon, Thomas Tyron. Knopf Publishing Group, $18.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-394-56006-9

Tryon ( The Other ) sends Leo Joaquim, his orphaned 13-year-old hero, to Camp Friend-Indeed in Connecticut in the summer of 1938, and does his best to show that the behavior of the kids at this American-as-apple-pie camp parallels that of the Nazi movement in Germany. Gifted, troubled and therefore ``different,'' Leo arouses the animosity of his gung-ho and intolerant counselor Reece Hartsig. Leo also makes some friends in his bunk group and gets the sympathetic attention of Fritz Auerbach, an Austrian refugee who is head of Arts & Crafts, as well as of warmhearted women like the camp director's wife and a rich neighbor of the camp. But in the main Leo meets with incomprehension and adolescent meanness. The story is an intimate, detailed one of camp life and its vicissitudes until the political parallels become overt, the human storm breaks and tragedy takes over. If this sounds interesting, it is not. It is good-hearted, prosy, plodding and terribly familiar. 75,000 first printing; Literary Guild dual main selection. (July)