Don't take Phelps at his word, that his book is not about ""places of interest,"" wild animals and naked savages--you'll be so much the poorer. Phelps writes in the grand, sensuous style of Conrad's jungle prose and Doughty's Travels in Arabia Deserta. You are there! Occasionally this degenerates into traveler's cant:- ""I felt the interminable jungles, as if I were standing at the edge of a green furnace... This, I thought, was the reality..."" Phelps' marvelous travels reveal a picture of modern Brazil from the borders of Venezuela down to Uruguay, while his balancing of the historical, political, economic and human aspects of the country never interferes with his extraordinary evocation of milieus. His Brazil is an illimitable Turkish bath at the far reach of creation; empty beer cans float down lost and colored rivers; storms are tremendous; wretched girls in wretched huts wear haircurlers: and meanwhile, money blooms in tall fantastic structures in great cities. ""...(T)he evening sun flared like a sheet of tissue paper; the white quartz of the houses scattered among the trees blazed and spluttered..."" In Manaus he deathlessly romances a prostitute; in Bahia he lectures on Virginia Woolf. It's a book and a half; Incongruity is the Prince of Strangeness.