I read the original 34 years ago (when there was no "reactionary" edit), and recall that I thought it an engrossing & entertaining read. Recently, I have been reading a great deal about Greece, the Greek islands, Greek history, etc. In that context I recalled *The Magus* and also remembered reading that Fowles had published a revised version of it. I decided to read it over again simply because it was set on a Greek island (Yes, odd, I know), but at first could not decide which version to read. I was half of a mind to read the original again, because my memory of it was so positive (very impressionistic--could not remember any details), but then decided to read the revised version, having every intention of reading at least the ending of the original when I had finished the revised version. I had read in Amazon and elsewhere about the controversy over the changes, the changed ending etc, and was curious to see both versions.
I read the revised version, and absolutely, totally, loved it (see my Amazon review--8/08--for an elaboration of this point). In my opinion the ending was perfect. Not simply in terms of "what happened," but in every precise articulation of that "what"--just about every sentence, phrase, word--dead on right, perfectly pitched. In a sense, at least for me, the ending--the very end--subtly alters the significance of everything that happened previously (wonderful stuff!), and takes the book on to a different plane of meaning. It imparts a retroactive significance to the entire previous narrative. Anyway, I totally lost the motivation to "compare endings," as I did not--and do not--want to cloud my memory and sense of the newer version.
So, as my take on the novel seems to be exactly the opposite of yours, I thought I would leave this comment and let any reader make of it--and your comments--what they will. Perhaps two flatly contradictory views, taken together, will enhance in some tiny way the aura of mystification that surrounds enchanted Bourani!