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Ken Hawes - “Absence of Moves” Book Review

While I love magic, I also enjoy reading autobiographies. Magic autobiographies are not too common as most magicians only write about performance and theory. When I found out about this book, I knew I needed to read it and I put it on my list for 2024.


Self penned by magician Ken Hawes, it was released in January of this year (24) and is available on Kindle and paperback by “Publishing Push”.


I have a confession though, despite Ken having an amazing career in magic, I only discovered him last year in the August of 2023. I was lucky to see him perform some close up last Summer at a “Balloon Festival” in Northampton.


I should also add that I read a lot of autobiographies as it is my favourite genre. I’ve read page turners through to yawn fests. While mainly reading books about TV personalities and musician/actors, this made a nice change.


This book is entertaining and I was gripped from the very first chapter. Amazing writing and details from childhood, relations with family, growing up, careers and of course progression within magic.


The book comes in at 664 pages and is packed with details as Ken has kept diaries all his life, allowing him to share a level of detail and descriptions of events that others would normally struggle to recall.


Despite being a long book, I managed to get through it pretty quick as I kept wanting to know more about Ken’s story.



I found his relationship with his Dad intriguing, as a man who fully supported Ken’s dream to perform magic, doing whatever he could to support his interest. Meanwhile, upset about distractions such as Ken’s appearance with longer hair in the 60’s/70’s.


Ken paints a picture of a balanced individual who wasn’t obsessed by magic as a a young man and always balanced his interests when growing up between live music, cars and girls. His club - “The Northamptonshire Magicians Club” is also referenced a lot having been a member since the 60’s to present day.


You don’t need to be into magic to enjoy this book as it is more of a running theme with lots of other subject matter such as balancing being a single parent, earning an income and supporting his sons. Magic gigs then provide Ken with extra income to support his family and he details learnings, dealing with agents, audiences and contracts.


The book honestly accounts Ken’s story and when reflecting, Ken will comment on life’s learnings and if he would do some things differently now as you learn and gain life experience.


In midlife, not being content with multiple interests, he documents his interest in writing songs and poetry. An outlet to deal with the challenges of life when needing to voice his thoughts after his marriage breakdown which included open mic performances. No doubt eventually leading to writing his own autobiography.


Much focus is on family and work. I particularly enjoyed segments about the IBM magic conventions before the book finishes with Ken settling into retirement and accepting new opportunities to enjoy life and his interests.


An enjoyable book for those who like reading autobiographies, with a level of detail that is often missing in other similar books. Congrats to Ken for writing his story and his sister for helping with the editing. A book that proves that we all have our own unique and interesting stories to tell.


A recommended read.

Buy on Amazon kindle or paperback

Buy paperback at Waterstones



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