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Andrea Avery holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and now teaches English in Phoenix. Her stories have appeared in Ploughshares and the Oxford American. "Sonata" is her first book. Avery, already a promising and ambitious classical pianist at twelve, was diagnosed with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that threatened not just her musical aspirations but her ability to live a normal life.
As Avery navigates the pain and frustration of coping with RA alongside the usual travails of puberty, college, sex and just growing-up, she turns to music. Specifically Franz Schubert's Sonata in B-flat D960, and the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein for strength and inspiration. The heartbreaking story of this mysterious sonata—Schubert’s last, and his most elusive and haunting—is the soundtrack of her story.