Gilda Trillim: Shepherdess of Rats

Gilda Trillim: Shepherdess of Rats

A woman struggles to discern the meaning of life when she is taken as POW in Vietnam.


Steven L. Peck's intriguing, literary narrative follows Gilda Trillim's many adventures; from her origins on a potato farm in Idaho, to an Orthodox Convent in the Soviet Union, to her life as a badminton champion...

When Gilda is taken prisoner during the Vietnam war, she finds comfort in the company of the rats who cohabit her cell. Follow Gilda as she struggles to comprehend the meaning of life in this uncanny, philosophical novel which explores Mormonism, spirituality and what it means to be human.


Like Peck’s other fiction, the Trillim posts sought aggressively to push contemporary Mormon fiction away from existing paradigms and guide it to realms hitherto unexplored by Mormon writers. As a reader and scholar of Mormon fiction, I have taken to calling recent works that push against established directions in Mormon fiction the “New Mormon Fiction.” He added, [Peck’s] “ambiguous use of Mormonism, a kind of foregrounding of Mormonism without privileging it, allows it to speak just as well to Mormon as non-Mormon readers, thus enabling a multiplicity of equally engaging readings. ~ Scott Hales, Dissertation,

Beautifully bizarre! I could not have taken this dizzying journey except for a master hand leading me through the surprising giggles into the even more surprising blessings of grace, wisdom and healing. I really don’t think Gilda is fiction, for I fell in love with her, and as she and I both know, love is stunningly real. ~ Carol Lynn Pearson, author of The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men

What a mad, marvelous, and compulsively fascinating heroine Steven Peck has created in this novel - a woman who can spend a year painting pictures of an apple seed and write a novel describing the contents of a single drawer. By carefully scrutinizing these microcosmos of everyday life, Gilda Trillim (but really Steven Peck) starts to answer some of the biggest questions of all, like "Where did God come from?", "How do complex patterns emerge from random chaos?", and "Why does anything even exist at all? ~ Michael Austin, author of Useful Fictions: Evolution, Anxiety, and the Origins of Literature

Gilda Trillim has sprung from Steven Peck's head as fully-formed and singular a woman as you'll ever meet. Hers is an engrossing, uncanny world, pulled into existence by an author at the peak of his creative power. Absolutely compulsive reading ~ Emily H. Butler, author of Freya and Zoos

You are one of the lucky few to be living on this very planet at a time when a physical copy of Gilda Trillim’s wit and wisdom can be placed into your waiting hands. I envy the roller coaster of colorful images and wrenching emotions your mind is about to enjoy as you uncover Gilda’s spunk and spontaneity as a one-handed naturalist who writes creatively, paints particularly, and has a wicked badminton return. Come with her as she susses out the meaning of love through engaging with potheads and fishheads and attempt to understand her wide-reaching philosophical musings that stretch across the cosmos and then constrict into the core of an appleseed. Even though you are not a rat (unless you are and then congratulations for getting your paws upon this scripture!) you will find much to learn about the universe and finding one’s place within it. By willing the one-handed, full-hearted, and perhaps-insane Gilda Trillim into existence, Steven Peck again captures the wonder and failings of being human and the mystical connections between the natural and religious world that make life so delightfully complicated. ~ Emily W, Jensen, writer, blogger, and editor of A Book of Mormons

Steven L. Peck
Steven L. Peck Steven L. Peck is professor of Biology at Brigham Young University, teaching the history and philosophy of biology and bioethics. He has pub...

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