As luck would have it, I have a book entitled Het geheim - The Secret - standing on a bookshelf waiting to be read. Clearly all this exposure is a sign to get started. So I thought I would go through the first chapter with you.
It begins: De vleugel hing in de lucht - The grand piano hung in the air, which is an attention-grabbing start; en tekende zich als een geblakerde karbonade af tegen de besneeuwde bergtoppen - and stood out like a blackened steak against the snow-covered mountain tops.
Vlak boven het balkon bleef de piano zachtjes zweven - Just above the balcony, the piano gently swayed. Van binnenuit duwde iemand de balkondeuren open - From inside someone pushed the balcony doors open.
The piano is lowered on to the balcony and pushed inside, then de deuren gingen dicht - the doors closed. As does the chapter, and no characters have been introduced. All I know is a grand piano has been moved into an apartment with a view on snow-capped mountains.
Is this a tale about a concert pianist with a past? Why begin with a hanging piano? And what's the big secret?
I prefer to judge a book by its opening page rather than by its cover, but for you I'll sneak a glance at the blurb on the back: heden en verleden naderen - present and past come together ... conflict tussen liefde en ambitie - conflict between love and ambition ... een tragisch geheim - a tragic secret. It must be a Horowitz-type character with a dreadful wasting disease of the finger joints. Well, I‘m taken by the mid-air piano and do like to tinkle, so I'll read on, in my own time.
I looked up a definition of geheim: Een geheim is iets dat voor anderen verborgen moet worden gehouden - A secret is something that must be kept hidden from others. And if you don't, then you give a secret away - een geheim verklappen.
Een publiek geheim is of course an open secret, and if you are good at keeping secrets, then u zou het geheim naar de graf nemen - you would take the secret to your grave. The so-called harmless ones, geheimpjes - little secrets - may be anything but, yet who has never wanted een geheime laatje - a secret drawer?