Soon Wiley

Works

WHEN WE FELL APART (April 2022)Dutton (USA)Simon and Schuster (UK)Penguin Canada (Canada)AST (Russia)

Book-to-film

A native of Nyack, New York, Soon Wiley attended Connecticut College and Wichita State University, where he received an MFA. His writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and earned him fellowships in Wyoming and France. He resides in Connecticut with his wife and their two cats. When We Fell Apart is his debut novel and will be published in April 2022.

A profoundly moving and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties that bind families together—or break them apart—as a young Korean American man’s search for answers about his girlfriend’s mysterious death becomes a soul-searching journey into his own bi-cultural identity

When the Seoul police inform Min that his girlfriend Yu-jin has committed suicide, he’s sure it can’t be true. She was successful, ambitious, happy, just on the cusp of graduating from university and claiming the future she’d always dreamed of.

Min, on the other hand, born to an American father and Korean mother, has never felt quite the same certainty as Yu-jin about his life’s path. After growing up in California, where he always felt “too Korean” to fit in, he’s moved to Seoul in the hope that exploring his Korean heritage will help him find a sense of purpose. And when he meets Yu-jin, little does he know that their carefree relationship will set off a chain of events with tragic consequences for them both.

Devastated by Yu-jin’s death, Min throws himself into finding out why she could have secretly wanted to die. Or did she? With a controlling and powerful government official father, and a fraught friendship with her alluring and destructive roommate So-ra, Yu-jin’s life was much more complex than she chose to reveal to Min. And the more he learns about her, the more he begins to doubt he ever really knew her at all.

As Yu-jin’s story—a fraught exploration of selfhood, coming-of-age, and family expectations—collides with Min’s, the result is an engrossing page-turner that poses powerful, urgent questions about cultural identity, family bonds, secrets, and what it truly means to belong.

“Propulsive and deeply felt, Soon Wiley’s phenomenal debut When We Fell Apart takes on the friction between family bonds, cultural expectations, and personal desires in a way that feels both urgent and intensely real.  Even as I raced through the pages to find out what happened to Yu-jin, for me the true heart of the book was Min, and his search for a sense of belonging that neither America nor Korea is quite able to offer him. His story is truly unforgettable.”

–Abi Daré, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl with the Louding Voice

 

“In this gorgeous, poignant meditation on identity, love, and desire, Soon Wiley illuminates the liminal state of being biracial, of belonging but not, of desperately wanting the world to let you be as you are. When We Fell Apart will stay with me for a long time. “
—Angie Kim, bestselling author of Miracle Creek

 

‘A lyrical exposition on what it’s like to be biracial, with one foot firmly planted in two distinct worlds, never completely fitting in, but capable of seeing what others do not. A lonely, heartbreaking, spellbinding story of love, self-discovery, and belonging.’

–Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet



“Melancholic, atmospheric, and consistently surprising. Like Norwegian Wood, there is a minor key running through this love story played out on the frenetic and lonely streets of Seoul. When We Fell Apart is a transportive and poignant debut.”
—Susie Yang, New York Times bestselling author of White Ivy

“A ravishing neo-noir about the search for identity in modern-day Seoul, When We Fell Apart dazzles like neon on a rainy night. In lush, perfectly-tuned prose, Soon Wiley leads readers around dark corners and into the heart of a kaleidoscopic city, unraveling the mystery of one young woman’s tragic death through the eyes of a haunted outsider. This is a magical debut.”
—Amy Gentry, bestselling author of Good as Gone and Bad Habits

“When We Fell Apart is so expertly plotted and paced, told in prose so lean and lucid that it’s hard to believe that this book in my hands is a first novel. It’s thrilling, deeply human, heartbreaking. It’s equal parts mystery and exploration of identity and duality. What isn’t hard to believe is that Soon Wiley is writer we’ll be hearing from for years to come.  “
—Michael Knight, author of Eveningland
 
“The business of being yourself is anything but simple, and Wiley’s powerful novel knows it.”
—Peter Behrens, award-winning author of Carry Me

“When We Fell Apart is an absolutely mesmerizing and important novel, delving into all sorts of issues that everyone will find relatable. This book is a page-turner, propelling the reader toward the conclusion, which is both surprising and perfectly rendered when reached. A bravado debut.”
—Don Lee, award-winning author of Yellow and Country of Origin