‘Little Siberia’ is back in the news. The escape of two convicted killers from Clinton Correctional Facility – known to locals, prisoners, and even ardent movie fans as Dannemora – has propelled the ancient prison into the headlines. The prison was the model for the fictional Savone State Prison which served as the backdrop for the PEN International Award winning novella, ‘The Cats of Savone‘, the title story in a collection of shorts by writer David-Michael Harding. ‘Cats’ tells the story of how felines came to roam the dark passages of ‘Dead Man’s Curve’ within the complex and the massive exercise yard, replete with ‘courts’ where a unique hierarchy helps maintain a semblance of order. The balance disintegrates when one of the cats, friendly to everyone regardless of the man’s past and a petting post to feelings of normalcy, is killed. The third act is spellbinding, and when viewed with Dannemora’s unusual yard as the stage set, shockingly true.
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