To get a sense of the importance of Guerard's role in Hawkes's work, one can look at the genesis of The Lime Twig (1961).
In his introduction to The Lime Twig, Leslie Fiedler mused over the extreme conventionality of much recent fiction and applauded Hawkes's Gothic attempts to undermine our sense of always having to know the context for perceived experience.
Joan Didion praised The Lime Twig for the way it rested on the "brink of nightmare" (34).
Hawkes's publication of The Lime Twig in 1961 earned him further notice internationally.
The Lime Twig begins like Beckett's Molloy, with Hencher's disaffected first-person account of his youth when he moved from cheap flat to cheap flat with his mother while living in World War II London.
With its fog, steam baths, night trains, and tacky English crowds, The Lime Twig ultimately weighs in against the dream as a destructive force and against the detectives and Slyter for their attempts to make sense of it all.
One imagines that Guerard's injunction to Hawkes to revise The Lime Twig over a four-year period led to a far richer work than the three preceding ones.
While The Lime Twig is perhaps the most assured and successful of Hawkes's early postwar novels, Second Skin augers a dramatic changeover from the usual wasteland imagery towards something more positive and lyrical.
In Hawkes's early novels, the landscapes are ruined and desolate: The Cannibal (1950) is set amidst the destruction of postwar Germany; The Beetle Leg (1951) depicts the desert wastelands of the Wild West; The Owl and The Goose on the Grave (novellas originally published in 1954 and republished as part of Lunar Landscapes in 1969) take place in nightmarish Italian settings destroyed by war and fascism; The Lime Twig
(1961) portrays the criminal underworld of modern England.