An utterly charming book. Knowing Edinburgh made the locations more concrete for me, but the descriptions are of a Scotland of another time. Fascinating as a portrait of Jewish life in Edinburgh between the wars, it is also something of a coming-of-age story. I have searched in vain for the book covering Daiches' life as an academic in America.
A fascinating autobiography. You don't need to be Scots, or an orthodox Jew, to appreciate these recollections -- anyone who has felt the tug of two cultures, two ways of living in their childhood, will feel with the author as they read.
"Two Worlds" is accompanied by a shorter biographical text on the author's father. The two overlap, but personally I found the latter far les intersting than the former. Filial respect cramps the author's style and, he remembers what he felt and thought as a child far more clearly than he can imagine what was going on in the mind of a rather remote father.
i could have fallen asleep reading this drivel. but i didn't, just. when i compare james joyce writing portrait in or about 1916, and this concerning 1919 (mainly), and geographically edinburgh and dublin, you can see why one became a highly-paid, high-class academic of literature, and the other nearly won the nobel prize for literature, (but was rejected with for the same reasons as tolstoy, chekov, zola, twain etc.). that he continually goes on about his father's leadership betrays an ignorance of democracy. that he says that american jews thought his father's goal of a synergy of jewishness and scottishness was impossible, and this without qualification and or amplification, would manage to offend not least a few americans, scots and jews. compare the tremblers to leopold bloom, a mock hero, in dublin that is (joyce getting to the heart of place in a way daiches doesn't), though perhaps not in melbourne? i say melbourne because at the same time that both books are written the australian (jewish) general monash was facing hitler, amongst his bavarian regiment, at first passchendaele (missed his trench by 200 yards and that would have a blessing). is that a mock odysseus? the strategist, the cunning one in ancient greek, and from hence general. is that not the real thing? the reason joyce made leopold bloom mock heroic, at the same time, is his mockery of Dublin. Now is the Edinburgh of the same time closer to Ithaca? Melbourne? or Dublin? yes, you've guessed it. the ironic insults of joyce (even sarcasm), are sorely lacking in daiches repetoire and imagination. i am not schmoozed by this. there are occasional nuggets, some brief humanities, the half page about the piano teacher miss barron, but it is so class bound, so fearful, that academia does seem more suitable than a nobel, or artistic aspiration. did i say drivel?