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“No divorce is a single event,” writes anthropologist Allison Alexy, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan. “Divorces extend over time, shifting from a private thought to a spousal conversation, a legal status to a rearrangement of parental identities, with new freedoms that come with literal and emotional costs.”

This sentiment captures the scope of Alexy’s new book, “Intimate Disconnections: Divorce and the Romance of Independence in Contemporary Japan.” Often more satisfying than the topic suggests, it is a study of dissolving marriages, including reasons for separation, legal processes and custody arrangements, as well as financial and social implications.

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