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The Coachman Rat

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  20 reviews
The fate of a young rat magically transformed for one brief night into a coachman takes on the air of heroic tragedy in this retelling (from a different point of view) of one of childhood's most famous fairytales. Set in a Europe on the verge of enlightenment, Wilson's somber portrayal of a creature trapped halfway between his animal origins and his new "human" awareness e ...more
Hardcover, 171 pages
Published October 1st 1989 by Carroll & Graf Publishers (first published 1984)
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3.76  · 
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 ·  120 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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This is easily the weirdest fairy tale retelling I've read in a long, long time.

It's nominally a retelling of "Cinderella" from the point of view of the rat who drove the coach, though the "Cinderella" portion is over by the end of the second chapter. After the midnight ball, the coachman's mind is still that of a human though his body is that of a rat. Most of the rest of the novel is filled with musing over what it means to be human and humanity in general.

Very dark and strange.
May 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Cinderella story as told from the point of view of one of the transformed rat coachmen. A decent book, but don't pick it up expacting a light, amusing diversion: things go badly for everyone.
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
In revisiting my thesis, I remembered this book! a rather dark retelling of Cinderella but has its good points. It is one of the more unique revisions I've read but don't come here looking for a modern Cinderella, she's pretty passive so that the rat can tell his story.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Qué libro más extraño.
This was one of those books that I read the summary and was confused by what it was really about it. Honestly for the one who enjoys fairytales, especially the darker versions, I would recommend this story to be read. Thankfully I took a chance on it and it is one of the books that I have been able to add to my higher collection.

The story is a intriguing blend of "Pied Piper" with "Cinderella", which is an unusual combination within itself but it works. The story is breathtaking and full of su
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Certainly as gruesome as any tale by the Brothers Grimm, maybe even more so. Filled with melancholy and misanthropy. NOT for those seeking fluffy fairy-tale retellings.

The Coachman Rat used the tale of Cinderella as a way to explore the cruelty and selfish motives of man, what is "good" and what is "evil", what it means to be human, and what differentiates man from animal and animal from man. From the beginning I had a sense of foreboding that the rat's story would not end well, and was I ever r
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This marriage of two classic fairy tales - "Cinderella" and "The Pied Piper" - was certainly a fast and entertaining read. In some ways it reminded me of Ratatouille as well (though this 1989 release obviously precedes the film!) and made me wonder if the screenwriters found some inspiration in these pages. This fairy tale mash-up was fun - though it would probably be better for younger audiences. Then again, I suppose you can't really outgrow fairy tales! And while this isn't my favorite re-tol ...more
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
What happens to Cinderella's rat and mice that were transformed for her carriage? Hear what follows as the story borrows from another tale, the Piped Piper of Hameln.

What I liked was the totally opposite story developing from the classic tale. It is dark and speaks to power and desire for power corrupting (along with a disappointed suitor). Remember this was written by a man born during the 2 world wars and first published in German in the 1980s and think about the division of that country and
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are no happily ever afters here... this is what happens when the credits are normally rolling... although it's about the rat that got turned into a coachman for Cinderella... it really isn't about Cinderella at all... it's more afterwards and to be honest it's extremely dark... it delves into the difference between man and animal and the balance of the world... and as sad as this story was I'm glad I read it because it really is thought provoking but i will never be able to view this fairy ...more
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
a twist on the Cinderella tale, told from the point of view of the rat who is transformed into Cinderella's coachman. Once the clock strikes midnight and the coachman returns to being a rat, he desires only to be turned back into a man. Once his wish is granted, he finds that being a man is not as inviting as it seems, and the book becomes a sort of contemplation on the evils of mankind. This title came as a recommendation in the book, Snow White, Blood Red...not particularly impressed with it.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites, fiction
I really enjoyed the strange twists that Wilson put into traditional stories that we have all heard over and over again. The tales here are a lot darker and made me think differently about the stories I know so well. I thought it was innovative and different from anything I had read before (and now I've discovered there is a whole world of books like this out there - I'm so happy!)
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The story of The Coachman Rat deals with the reality of reality.
The existent of rats and their beliefs doesn't exist in the people of this book and some of us too.
But the courage of Robert to face it's magic against science is the one I truly loved.
Arlene Allen
Aug 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Ever wonder about those animals transformed into humans to take Cinderella to the ball? Wonder no more. This is a grim, dark retelling of Cinderella (in fact I think she ends up burned as a witch at the end).
Una curiosa historia sobre la rata cochero del cuento de la Cenicienta. No es un libro para niños aunque lo pueda parecer. Me gustó bastante la idea y buena parte de la historia pero, cuándo pasa a ser solo venganza me aburrí bastante.
Oct 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 7+
Shelves: classroom
The Coachman Rat is about the rat who became the coachman in "Cinderella". When he turns back into a rat at midnight, he finds that he still has a human voice. However, he still hates men and decides to wage war against them. I enjoyed this book, even though it was creepy.
Wilson presents a dark take on Cinderella in this book. The story is about one of the rats that was transformed for Cinderella's coach and how he stays human. For such a short book, Wilson does a good job in looking at the human condition and what humanity is. This book, however, is dark.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dark and disturbing fairy tale. While I didn't like where the story went, I found the narrative believable and the translation was excellent. Do no read if you intend to sleep that night!
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
Robert is a rat who becomes Cinderella's coachman. He tells the story of how things did not turn out "happily ever after."
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Está disfrazado como un cuento para niños, y tal vez más de la mitad tenga ese ritmo, pero su desenlace es bastante impactante... Definitivamente merece sus cinco estrellas.
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