This just in from Mother:
My dear son,
I did a little background check on your two new advisors at Tokyo University. The first is a specialist in Russian and Slavic literature. I remember you reading Bulgakov, Babel and Zamyatin as an undergrad, but you might want to review here some of the lesser-known Soviet writers.
Your second advisor is apparently one of Japan’s most renowned and widely read translators of contemporary American (and British) fiction. I’ve compiled a list of some of the authors he’s translated; try to familiarize yourself with them before the semester begins, even though American (and British) literature isn’t your specialty. I suspect you’re only vaguely familiar with Paul Auster, Malcolm Bradbury, and Thomas Pynchon.
1. Steven Millhauser, novelist, short story writer. Won Pulitzer in 1997 for novel Martin Dressler. His short story “Eisenheim the Illusionist” was made into a 2006 film called The Illusionist.
2. Serbian-American poet Charles Simic.
3. Rebecca Brown, writer of gay and lesbian fiction.
4. Stuart Dybek, Polish-American from Chicago, acclaimed master of the short story.
5. Barry Yourgrau, multimedia writer and performer. Also writes for Huffington Post. Here’s his article from January of this year about the slaughter in Gaza.
6. Edward Gorey, writer, illustrator. Creator of the “Mystery” TV program intro.
7. Richard Powers, writer, addresses science-technology issues.
8. Ethan Canin, novelist, faculty at Iowa Writer's Workshop. Author of America America.
9. Malcolm Bradbury, novelist, academic. Author of famous polemical campus novel, The History Man. Here is David Lodge’s review of it.
10. Steven Erickson, surrealist/magical realist novelist, author of The Sea Came at Midnight and Zeroville.
11. British philosopher and novelist Colin Wilson, best known for The Outsider, a non-fiction work about the lives of various artists.
12. American Southern novelist and poet George P. Garrett, who served as poet laureate of Virginia from 2002-6.
13. Paul Auster. Here's CLR critic Garan Holcombe's not-so-favorable review of Auster's latest book.
14. Thomas Pynchon
Hope this helps.