Inhospitable Camphor Press, May 2018 302 pages

Camphor Press, May 2018
302 pages

From Havelock to Hong Kong, Marshall Moore ’92 has a lot to write about.

The Hong-Kong based author and college professor has published his fourth novel, Inhospitable, about an American couple who inherit some prime real estate in Hong Kong. But the windfall comes with a catch: They cannot sell the building. Thus begins Lena Haze’s work to refurbish it amid culture shock, business obstacles and malignant ghosts. Her previous experiences with the spirit world don’t help; she’s dealing with Chinese ghosts this time. Different rules, rituals and customs apply, and she has no idea what is coming.

“A lot of work and a lot of research went into it, and I’m quite proud of how it turned out,” Moore said by email about the book. “Even though it’s mostly set in Hong Kong, I think that people in N.C. will connect with it. I hope so, anyway.”

On, John Grant Ross said Moore’s writing “is difficult to categorize, but is perhaps best described as literary fiction with a touch of weirdness.”

Moore was born at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and grew up in Greenville. He didn’t finish high school, but completed his GED. His parents – who worked at ECU at the time – helped him get enrolled in college.

The late English professor David Sanders stands out from Moore’s days at ECU. “His first-year honors English class (or whatever it was called then) was genuinely intellectually stimulating. He chose books that pushed us to use our heads, and he wasn’t shy about challenging us for sloppy thinking. Sanders also mattered on a personal level because he was gay and fairly out about it, considering the time and the place. He was sort of dashing and had a great car. I think I’m about the same age now that he was then, and I suppose I’m carrying on a tradition of sorts with my own students.”

In a way, Moore is also carrying on the tradition of Southern literature. He writes about not just Westerners in a foreign land, but Southerners.

“Southern is or was a regional identity with many of the characteristics of an ethnicity,” he said. “When you’re Southern, you’re very much aware that you’re an American but also kind of not. There’s also the sense and the importance of place … the sense of being a distinct part of the country that isn’t like everywhere else.”