In 1980, when Amis refused to give up alcohol, Howard left him. She didn’t remarry, but continued to write —turning out "Getting It Right," "Mr. Wrong" and "The Cazalet Chronicles." And she has not doubt that her next novel, about late 19th- and early 20th-century British society, will be easier to write than "Slipstream." "It was a painful process," Howard says. "You have to look back on all of that shoddy, old, bad behavior and inadequacies and mistakes, and one would rather not remember those things.
"But it was useful," she adds with a smile. "At least, I felt I am marginally nicer than I was when I was 20."