Book Notification

Soon Wiley Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

When We Fell Apart (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Soon Wiley is an American fiction and mystery author with a BA in English and Philosophy from Connecticut College. He also holds an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University.

Wiley’s debut novel, When We Fell Apart, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and earned fellowships in France and Wyoming.

When We Fell Apart
After Seoul police give Min the devastating news that His Girlfriend has committed suicide, he thinks they must have mistaken her for someone else. The news leaves Min bereft and confused. Yu-jin was a hardworking, ambitious, and successful lady, almost graduating from the university and pursuing the life of her dreams.

Min had an American father and a Korean mother and never had the same surety about his life’s direction as Yu-jin. Having grown up in California, he has always felt too Korean to live in America, so he relocated to Seoul, hoping that learn more about his Korean origin might help him find a sense of life.

Min had comfortably straddled the line between his white and Asian friends in college. However, as the friend groups became closer and tighter, couples formed, and he began to feel pressured to choose one identity. He had to get a lens through which to view himself and the world surrounding him.

Being unable to find a meaning or purpose in either side of himself, Min decides to relocate to Seoul, Korea, looking for a sense of belonging, where he thinks people don’t see differences in people. He hopes to find people with the same dreams as him to share the country with.

Instead, his mission of fitting in and feeling whole again never came to fruition. Soon, he meets Yu-jin in Seoul, and little does he know that their carefree relationship will bring a series of events with severe consequences.

Devastated by Yu-jin’s demise, Min plans on investigating why she secretly committed suicide, if at all she did it herself, or maybe it was a more sinister thing. Her death starts to rule his life, giving him a reason to keep going.

He finds out that she has a controlling and influential father working in the government and an agitated friendship with her roommate So-ra. Yu-jin’s life was much more complicated than she let Min know.

Yu-jin’s father is so proud of her like a prized possession and personally plans her life. He chooses a prestigious college for her as he moves to the political arena. Everything takes a different direction when Yu-jin shares a room with So-ra. She starts to discover and reinvent herself, and as her attraction to the independent and strong roommate increases, he father’s supervision also increases

Her roommates are reluctant to share any information they have, but later, Min finds an ally in a police investigation of the case. More suspicion heightens after learning that the authorities came to the apartment even before the roommates discovered her body.
Even though he never had a chance to meet her family, Min is determined to find out whether they played any role in her death because he can’t believe that Yu-jin would have wanted to kill herself.

The more Min finds more information about her, the more he realizes that he barely knows his girlfriend. He has more questions than answers, which makes him believe that the woman he was dating didn’t even exist. He starts to doubt everything that he has lived to know about her. Yu-jin lived a controlled life designed by her father for her to be successful.

However, when she relocated to Seoul to attend Ewha Women’s University, a new world opened up, including secret love affairs that her family didn’t entertain. Her father believed that affairs could get in the way of one’s success. Min and Yu-jin go on their casual entanglement with no promises because they understand that their affair will end once she graduates.

The story is narrated in the present day as Min looks deeper into why his girlfriend claimed suicide. Nearing the end, Soon Wiley points out the critical moments in Yu-jin’s life, yielding to the night she passed away.

As Min struggles to come to terms with the woman he knows and who she is, he also starts exploring his past and identity.

The novel gives the reader a chance to explore how family pressures and standards set by society can make young people overwhelmed. Min’s struggle to find a place to call home is the most exciting part of the story and how he grew up to accept himself while learning more about his girlfriend and her problems.

The story is told in alternating chapters from two perspectives of Min and Yu-jin, who both came to Seoul searching for something. He uses Min’s third person and Yu-jin’s first person point of view, immersing the reader into both worlds. Soon Wiley explores identity, culture, and country issues through romantic bonds, friendships, and family expectations.

The main characters desired to belong, inspired by the city of Seoul. Set in Seoul, the author brings in the sense of place that was ephemeral as she lays out the city that can be familiar yet strange.

The story will have you questioning how deeply one can connect with the people close to them. How can one belong and get known while still maintaining their privacy? At the novel’s center, the reader brings in the idea of identity, who we are, what makes people whoever they are, and how others can understand the other.

When We Fell Apart is a well-written, poignant and powerful story about identity and finding oneself while living in two worlds yet not belonging to any. The author builds enough suspense as the protagonists find their identity in a world they feel they don’t fit.

Aspects of Korean history and its independence movement are evident in the plot. The author combined mystery and psychological themes, making it a narrative of selfhood and coming of age that involves young people.
Soon Wiley does an excellent job drawing the portrait of how domestic pressure and expectations affect one’s emotions. A critic of transgenerational trauma and rigid culture thinks parents should plan their child’s future.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Soon Wiley

Leave a Reply