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The Good Son

by Zaida Bergroth

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At the age of seventeen, Ilmari has already spent much of his life administering to the needs of his mother, the mercurial Leila. A veteran actress famous enough to be constant tabloid fodder, Leila’s desperate desire to be the centre of attention has only been exacerbated by her professional success. Ilmari’s daily duties include looking after his younger brother, mixing drinks for Leila’s friends and, most importantly, comforting Leila when she’s distressed — a common occurrence. Ilmari has become accustomed to an overwhelming level of responsibility, having chased off a number of his mother’s less acceptable suitors. Leila’s neglect has filled him with a rage he now considers normal. Following a very public squabble with the director of her most recent movie, Leila has promised the boys a relaxing weekend, just the three of them, during which they can quietly enjoy each other’s company in the countryside. But it doesn’t take long before Leila inevitably tires of — as she puts it within earshot of Ilmari — “being alone” way out in the middle of nowhere. Soon enough, her friends arrive — one of them so wasted he passes out on the lawn. Among them is Aimo, a screenwriter with whom Leila is conspicuously taken, setting the stage for a confrontation that threatens to spin out of control.

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