Graphic novelist Liana Finck on the perils of household items

By Abby Margulies  | July 15, 2014 - 1:59PM

Liana Finck is a graphic novelist, cartoonist, and humorist, with an eye for quirky stories and funny personal anecdotes. She recently published the graphic novel A Bintel Brief, which brings to life the Jewish Daily Forward’s original advice column of the same name through cleverly illustrated stories that lend insight into the struggle of the Jewish immigrant population living on New York’s Lower East Side. 

Her home, a studio on the Upper West Side, is filled with unusual objects tied to her personal history, including a matchbox full of wooden animals that her mother gave her when she lost her last baby tooth, a tiny wooden rabbit her dad saved from his swinging singles days, and a washcloth that once belonged to the cartoonist Saul Steinberg. Among her favorites is a very singular suitcase given to her by a friend.

Above, Liana Finck's suitcase covered in pages of poetry from one of Israel's most vaunted poets

I have a suitcase made of sewn-together pages of [Israeli poet] Yehuda Amichai's poems that my friend Hadassa gave to me when she and her husband were moving from New York to Jerusalem. It’s disintegrating, but it’s a top-notch piece of art made by my friend, and is very important to me! I love Amichai’s poetry, so it comes up a lot.

I love THINGS, but I'm still very early in the process of learning how to love things in the context of my home. I hate being responsible for a space--keeping it clean, having to spend time there, all that. I am a big fan of other people's homes. And cafés. And the outdoors. I have great anxiety that the paper suitcase will fall apart and it will be my fault. Sometimes, I am tempted to throw it away so I don't have to live in fear of that.

Above, Finck's latest book, "A Bintel Brief," takes inspiration from an iconic advice column of the same name


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