A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York

by Liana Finck

Paperback, 2014



Call number

808 FIN



Ecco (2014), Edition: Uncorrected Proof (First Edition), 128 pages


Drawn from letters submitted to the popular advice column of The Forward, a widely read Yiddish language newspaper begun in 1906 New York, this illustrative tribute to the turn-of-the-century Jewish immigrants who transformed New York City offers insight into a segment of America's rich cultural past.

User reviews

LibraryThing member froxgirl
This is the perfect companion piece to the original A Bintel Brief (Yiddish - A Bunch of Letters), a collection of advice letters from the Jewish Daily Forward (Forvets) from the early 1900s through WWII. Most of the submissions were heartbreaking sagas of poverty and misery, and yet the regal salutations from most were "Dear Esteemed Editor". Abraham Cahan, an editor worthy of all that praise and more, originated the advice column to fill in the back page of the newspaper. I believe that Ann Landers and Dear Abby, Jewish women, were inspired by Cahan's responses. He was a freethinker, not religious, but had a healthy respect for old and new country culture.

Liana Finck has done a fine graphic novel illustrating some of the letters and envisioning herself being visited by the body and spirit of Abraham Cahan. She is a fine artist, interpreter and storyteller herself! My only quarrel is with the tiny lettering in the Cahan appearances - very hard for a person needing reading glasses to decipher.

Do yourself a favor, willya, and read the original AND this very unique take on an American treasure.
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LibraryThing member jasonli
"A Bintel Brief" is an illustrated collection of letters written by Jewish immigrants to their Yiddish newsletter during the early 1900s USA. In each letter, the writer seeks advice over particular and sometimes peculiar problems in their lives. On top of this, Finck uses her own character to lay a subtle yet powerful subplot to the letters that makes the book more than just a motley collection of texts.

Finck's writing and illustration are both brimming with imagination – she meshes text and image metaphors seamlessly and brings forth many little visual surprises along the way. It is, unfortunately, a bit of a short book, but it's a charming story nonetheless. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member suesbooks
Graphic novel portraying some original letters from bintel brief. found many of the problems heartbreaking


Original language

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