March 11, 2011. A cataclysmic earthquake in Japan-a tsunami headed straight for the coast of California. With deep psychological fault lines of his own, Dr. Alex Arai has no idea of the personal upheaval ahead. Before long, the respected art history professor will become a graffiti vandal.
Alex is mired in life-long conflict with his father, Kazuo Arai. A narcissistic sculptor, Kaz is best known for his memorials to Japanese Americans interned in U.S. concentration camps during World War II. Over the years, he has ridiculed Alex's personal art while exploiting his son's scholarly articles to further his own career.
Through an acquaintance in an "over-the-hill" basketball league, Alex is introduced to the world of graffiti. After learning how to wield a spray can, he embarks on a dangerous campaign as a graffiti artist, a journey that takes him to NYC, DC, and LA. The discovery of his "tags" leads to wild speculation as to the vandal's identity and motivation. In the resulting chaos, Alex faces grave legal jeopardy, loss of career, community scorn, and a threatened relationship with his longtime partner. From a desperate place of fragmentation, he must somehow forge a cohesive new self.
"Like life itself, All Gone Awry, the story of a quest for fulfillment, for an authentic, honest identity, is layered and complex. Kumasaka addresses who gets to be an artist and looks at the transformative power that art-making can have. What does that art look like? What are the risks one is willing or required to take for it? How do family, ethnicity, and cultural history inform and influence our present? And what about romantic love? All Gone Awry is a sweeping story that welcomes contradictions; it movingly prods us to reflect on our own questions of identity, morality, and our place in the world."
Patrice Vecchione, author of My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice: A Guide to Writing Poetry & Speaking Your Truth
"A literary treat awaiting readers who will enjoy this provocative novel narrating the evolution of Alex Arai from staid art history professor to obsessively driven graffiti artist. Risking everything to explore the Postmodern, alternative art world of graffiti, Alex aims to fulfill his dream of authentic self-expression, while wrestling with and redefining his own ethnic identity. But at what cost to his freedom? A psychologically fascinating debut novel by Andrew Kumasaka."
Christine Z. Mason, novelist, author of Boundaries, Weighing the Truth, and The Ancient Stone City
"Andrew Kumasaka's All Gone Awry is fearlessly original: a sensitively written and timely novel that explores the complex maze of identity and belonging--and the critical role art can play to help us find our way."
Derek Conrad Murray, Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture; University of California, Santa Cruz
"Andrew Kumasaka's All Gone Awry is deceptively engrossing; it's fun and perceptive, with an engaging cast of characters. The prose pulls you in, and the plot feels light-hearted. But Kumasaka is a very smart writer. By the time you're turning the pages as fast as possible, you realize there's a wealth of life here, as a series of complex and surprising events, ideas and revelations take hold. All Gone Awry tells one hell of a great story, to be sure, even as it dives deep into the role of art in any and every life. Kumasaka revels in the pleasures of dissonance, the distance between who we think we are and who we find ourselves to be. He takes us from a quiet life to bigger than life, from embarrassment and shame to joy and success so seamlessly that we as readers realize only afterwards that the journey is ours as well."
Rick Kleffel, Monterey Bay radio host and podcast creator for Narrative Species