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Publisher's Summary

An aspiring photographer follows her dreams and faces her fears in a poignant novel about finding beauty, promise, and love amid the chaos of war-torn Kurdistan.

It’s 1979. Olivia Murray, a secretary at a Los Angeles newspaper, is determined to become a photojournalist and make a difference with her work. When opportunity arrives, she seizes it, accompanying her Kurdish boyfriend, Delan, to northern Iraq for a family wedding, hoping to capture an image that lands her a job in the photo department. More important, though, the trip is a chance to understand Delan’s childhood and bridge the differences of their pasts. Yet when the return home proves less safe than Delan believed, Olivia is confronted with a reality she had not expected. She is awakened to the dangers of a town patrolled by Iraqi military and under curfew and constant threat. 

But in this world torn apart by war, there are intoxicating sights and scents, Delan’s loving family, innocence not yet compromised, and small acts of kindness that flourish unexpectedly. All of it will be tested when Olivia captures a shattering, tragic moment on film, one that upends all their lives and proves that true bravery begins with an open heart.

©2021 Gian Schwehr (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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What listeners say about Take What You Can Carry

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  • Annielewme
  • 17-05-2021

read, don't listen

I had the option of reading this on my Kindle or listening. I really disliked the narrator - her tone of voice, her accent, and her way of reading were all jarring and distracting to me. I often really appreciate a narrator with an accent that matches the characters and settings, but in this case, she's narrating an American woman, and it wasn't a good fit. It is a wonderful book, though, with a gripping story line and really well-developed characters. I highly recommend reading it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Eagle101
  • 07-05-2021

Wonderful story.

Great listen. Very well written. The book makes you feel as emotions, but most of all will give you an appreciation of the struggles that the Kurdish people have been through and continue to deal with to this day.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-09-2021

Glimpses of love and endurance

A wonderful revelation of character and event in a country and people under constant attack. Living under persecution, always being watched, always compromised, yet still loving and forgiving. Described by an innocent who learns, sees.
This book reveals a world we can’t know.

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  • Tish Brey
  • 06-09-2021

Even the credits are wonderful...

A wonderful story that has helped me learn about a wonderful people who i had little to no knowledge about. Thank you for teaching me with such a tremendously well written novel.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-08-2021

An excellent read.

Suspenseful, tragic, and sad with a lovely love story interwoven throughout the story. To know that events such as written actually happened and in some cases continue to be a fact of life in the middle East is difficult to understand.

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  • Tryka
  • 23-08-2021

Hardship Makes Us Better

Suggest the reader push through the struggle of relationship to come to the understanding that life without entitled comfort helps us to appreciate every moment of life/love to its fullest measure.

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  • Ellen
  • 20-08-2021

An outstanding book

This is a great book. Rich with geography, history and culture of Kurdistan; engaging, complex characters; a touching romance; compelling tension; intense fear; lasting love and hope.

I rarely reread books (too many books, too little time!!!) but I plan to reread this one. About halfway through the book, I noticed that the author was very intentional; nearly every character, scene and conversation had significance. A detail as seemingly minor as watching a flock of birds became meaningful later in the book. I want to go back and pick up on those details. My first read was on Audible; next time will be on Kindle.

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  • Susan
  • 24-07-2021

I can’t rave enough

I am drawn to and devour books where I can learn something and this book was a joy in that regard. A wonderful story but even more important to me, a wonderful education. I cannot recommend it more highly. I’ll be looking for more books from this author.

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  • ET
  • 05-07-2021

Very moving story

This story was a delight to listen to, although there were some tragic moments.

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  • Vicki Morrison
  • 29-06-2021

Take what you can carry

The storyline seemed incomplete and disjointed. Great story that could have been expounded on more.

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