Thommy Ford Reads

A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library

“Cloudberry Jam” by Karin Tidbeck


I made you in a tin can. It was one of the unlabeled mystery cans the charity in Åre village handed out. Most of the time it would be sausages or split pea soup… You grew steadily through the winter months. I sang to you and fed you small drops of milk. By Yule you were big enough that I moved you to a larger container, an old bucket. You started kicking then…


“Cloudberry Jam” is from Swedish author Karen Tidbeck’s first English language collection Jagannath: SF TIDBECK

Some of the New Weird movement is just weird. There’s nothing wrong with weird for weirdness’ sake, but the stories won’t get an emotional response if there’s nothing oddly familiar about them. They won’t be memorable if we can’t recognize our own experiences somehow.

What impressed me most about the stories in Karin Tidbeck’s collection Jagannath is that despite the stories’ apparent strangeness it was still easy to hold them in my mind after I closed the cover. And some, “Cloudberry Jam” especially, had real emotional depth.

Throughout, the narrator is addressing a creature she birthed from a tin can, an old carrot, and a kind of witchy brew. She watches it grow into something I couldn’t help but imagine as one of Jim Henson’s darker creations. She’s deeply bonded to it, but in the end is forced to let go. You don’t have to be a mother or even a parent to relate. Anyone who’s ever created anything of value knows the feeling.

Next time you’re looking for something out of the ordinary but close to home, give “Cloudberry Jam” a try.

Review by Matthew

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This entry was posted on December 20, 2014 by in Book Review, Fiction, Saturday Shorts, Short Stories.
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