Following a competitive auction in the US, Lindsey Rose at Dutton acquired North American rights in a major deal from Catherine Cho. The UK rights were sold at auction to Bethan Jones at Simon & Schuster, with the book slated for global hardback release in spring 2022. Russian rights also went to AST.
With elements of Celeste Ng and Sally Rooney, When We Fell Apart is an exploration of love, of loneliness and identity and the secrets we hold in our lives.
Min-jun Ford, a biracial Korean expat from the US, finds Seoul a refuge, a city that offers a home to his cultural identity. He excels at his job at a tech firm, he plays rugby on the weekends and goes on dates with his girlfriend, Yu-Jin, a local university student.
Min’s world is turned on its head when Yu-Jin commits suicide. Min is blindsided and throws himself into unravelling the mystery surrounding her death. Losing Yu-jin makes Seoul a strange and unfamiliar city, and as details of Yu-jin’s double-life come to light, Min begins to doubt the authenticity of their relationship and his own sense of belonging.
The news was also announced in Bookbrunch, and according to the acquisition statement, the ‘novel beautifully explores the nature of belonging and the complicated and layered mechanisms of relationships. It’s about the most secret parts of yourself that perhaps no one can ever truly understand or know. It’s about the universal and totally unique experience of searching for yourself and the difficulty, and danger, of doing this under the weight of social expectations.’
Bethan Jones at S&S commented: ‘I fell in love with this novel when I first read it. Soon’s writing is so wonderfully layered, cutting to the heart of his characters and effortlessly bringing the vibrancy of Seoul to life. His exploration of Min and Yu-jin’s relationship and experiences is cathartic and painful but also liberating, and the pacy and intriguing central mystery propelled me through the story. I’m so excited about this book and I can’t wait to launch it next year.’
Soon Wiley said: ‘I can’t wait for readers to discover Min and Yu-jin’s triumphs and struggles as they search for a sense of belonging in Seoul. I’m thrilled and honored that When We Fell Apart will be published by Simon and Schuster in the UK.’
Catherine Cho said: ‘I was immediately captivated by Soon’s writing and this story of loneliness and belonging. Soon is a special talent, and I’m excited for Bethan and the S&S team to bring this debut to the world.’
We are thrilled for Soon and this brilliant debut.
Soon Wiley has an MFA from Wichita State University. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and earned him fellowships at Brush Creek Residency for the Arts in Wyoming and CAMAC – Centre d’art in France. He currently teaches English at Sidwell Friends in Washington, DC, where he resides with his wife and their two cats.