Persons and places in Brazil, Spain, Honduras, Jamaica, Tahiti and Samoa- so the sub-title reads for this travel book by a well-known novelist and biographer. The pieces that form the collection have considerable charm as very personal impressions; Basso has a gift for word pictures that convey the quality, the very atmosphere and mood of the places he visits. But what I found more interesting than this is the sense of shared experience, introduced not in an anecdotal sense but more as though he took the reader, unwittingly, into his emotional experiences. There is the compulsive woman traveler who forms a figure on the periphery of his Central American banana port stop -- off; there's the illuminating meeting with the surprisingly intelligent natives who comprise the suspect Maroon settlement in Jamaica; there are the Confederate descendants in interior Brazil; there's the almost fearful confession of the insidious hold exercised by the laissez faire atmosphere of Tahiti; there's rediscovery of another R.L.S. in Samoa; and there's sad commentary on the lost cause of out of the way spots such as Ronda. These are the things that stay with the reader. Most of this material appeared in either Holiday or The New Yorker magazine.