Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

"Westwind, written in 1972 during a time of considerable stress, remains one of my favorites to this day. According to Hollywood legend, a certain poor screenwriter was summoned to the vast estate of the head of one of the great studios of the '30s. Asked afterwards how he had liked its acres of manicured grounds, the writer said, "Wonderful! It just goes to show what God could have done if He'd had the money." When I wrote this particular story, I was speculating upon what God might do if only He had the technology. Or at least, that's what I believe now. Others have found a great many other things in there, and sixteen years is a long time. Anyway, I had a CB radio back when everybody in America had a CB radio, and my handle was Westwind."


An unnamed protagonist in a grim future society meets with a young blind woman at a dingy boarding-house. They discuss "the ruler", a benevolent despot who purports to love all his subjects, even those who commit crimes; but most of all he loves one called Westwind, who is a secret agent for him among the people. After going to their adjoining hotel rooms, the protagonist secretly contacts and converses with the ruler, and we realize that he is Westwind. The protagonist then overhears the blind woman doing the same thing, and it seems she is also Westwind. At the end of the story, even the old woman who runs the boarding-house is shown talking to the ruler as Westwind.


  • This story seems a straightforward metaphor for religious belief and the personal value of prayer.

Unresolved Questions

< The Rubber Bend | Storeys from the Old Hotel | Sonya, Crane Wessleman, and Kittee >