Towards the end of the writing process, Alberto Garlini hated the guts of his main character Stefano Guerra. Spending five years with this neo-fascist was horrible, he sighed during our walk through Udine, the Italian city which is home to most of his novel. ‘I had to join him to the lowest depths of evil.’ His novel The law of hate deals with the anni di piombo, ‘the lead years’. An impressive book about a black page in Italian history, the period between about 1968 and 1979, during which both the communists and the fascists made attacks on people, trains and bank buildings. A period of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It became a fascinating conversation about hate, tolerance, politics and the power of literature.