When We Fell Apart by Soon Wiley

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour When We Fell Apart by Soon Wiley.

About the Author

A native of Nyack, New York, Soon Wiley received his BA in English & Philosophy from Connecticut College. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University. 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.

About the book

A profoundly moving and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties that bind families together – or break them apart…

When the Seoul police inform Min that his girlfriend Yu-jin has taken her own life, 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.

Review

This is one of those reads I really want to talk about – get into the nitty-gritty of the premise, but I am also mindful of giving away the whole story.

Although the characters are quite similar in a sense that they are looking for a certain degree of autonomy, independence and searching for their self, their identity and it is indeed a discovery of self. Simultaneously they couldn’t be more different, and their paths are actually going in opposite directions, although for a while they walk together on the same path.

Yu-jin, my heart breaks for her and anyone who has to live up to the expectations of Tiger-parents (Tiger equality there). There are certain cultures where those expectations are higher, and held to a higher ransom, than say in other cultures. In a world where the pressure to succeed and be the best is already a standard bar, the failure to do so can appear to be the end of the world, especially when loved ones attach such importance to success.

There is no space for personal choice, for a pursuit of personal happiness. It’s not hard to imagine that for many young people the bar is too high and/or the fear of disappointing family and society is the last drop in the already very full barrel.

Min is an interesting character, and I think he is indicative of many who straddle two cultures, multiple origin stories. Feeling obligated to understand and become one with an identity that is drifting into the realms forgotten historical heritage and feeling as if the one you are living in and with daily is someone sub-par. The truth and peace lies somewhere in between the two. Know who you are, where you came from, and forge your own path.

It’s both a pivotal and heart-breaking piece of literature. Two people intersecting on each others trajectories, but perhaps never really knowing or understanding the other completely. I really enjoyed it and hope this is the first of many by this author.

Buy When We Fell Apart at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Simon and Schuster Uk, pub date 12th May 2022 | Hardback | £14.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Simon and Schuster.

One thought on “When We Fell Apart by Soon Wiley

  1. annecater says:

    Thanks for he blog tour support x

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