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.


Honorable Mention, Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year for 2022

PLAYLIST available here.

Available in PRINT or EBOOK.

A beautifully written debut novel with rich, complex characters—Meredith Hall, author of Beneficence

Guard brings these seemingly disparate characters together to explore friendship, with a satisfying redemption arc that makes the story unforgettable.—Kenyon Bulletin

Lyrical and self-aware—San Francisco Book Review

Speaks intimately of our own complex social moment—Mary Volmer, author of Reliance, Illinois

Fantastic page-turner that broke my heart and mended it—Readers’ Favorites

Deeply felt, intimately and powerfully inhabited story—Ronne Hartfield, author of Another Way Home

Remarkable story of persistence, self-discovery and redemption—Marcia Butler, author of Oslo, Maine

Fast-paced novel with touches of the poetic—Hungry for Good Books

An engaging novel about second chances—Foreword Reviews

Vivid, thought-provoking—Midwest Book Review

Chicago Book Review
San Francisco Book Review
Midwest Book Review