Anara Guard, Author


Like a Complete Unknown

In 1969, a girl’s life is not her own. Katya’s parents demand she drop out of school to join a cleaning crew. She runs away instead—but the counterculture isn’t as welcoming as she dreamed. Starry-eyed, barefoot, and in trouble, she turns to widowed Dr. Lewis for help at his women’s clinic, then disappears. The aging doctor’s rash impulse to save her might rejuvenate his own melancholy life. While Katya hunts for freedom and Robert searches for her, they each encounter beauty and chaos as they brave the unknown.

A compelling and evocative portrait that speaks to our own complex social times.



“In this stunning debut novel, Anara Guard weaves together the fragments of a runaway girl’s life against the backdrop of 1970s Chicago. Her voice is lyrical and self-aware, allowing the reader to fully immerse their self in Katya’s angst and yearnings with a gentle grace that can only come from sympathetic knowing…her deep understanding of story and character show mastery of the bildungsroman and novel writing…lulling the reader into her character’s painful, beautiful world.”

— San Francisco Book Review

“A beautifully written debut novel with rich, complex characters bound by their tumultuous personal histories and the volatile political landscape of the late 1960’s. Against the grit and beauty of counterculture Chicago, we are allowed to love these flawed, isolated people, and to feel joy as they create renewed lives.”

Meredith Hall, author of Beneficence

Meet Anara

March 12, 2022
Authors on the Move

Anara and Like A Complete Unknown will be among the authors and books showcased at this annual fundraiser for the Sacramento Literacy Foundation.

March 19, 2022
Capital Books: Book Launch

I’ll be discussing Like a Complete Unknown and signing books. An invitation-only reception for the book’s launch will take place following the signing.

Featured In

Chicago Book Review
San Francisco Book Review
Midwest Book Review