This is a very good review.
By choosing to narrate his story in the voice of a nine-year old boy however, Matar leaves an awful lot on the cutting room floor. Much the same technique was employed by Stephen Kelman in his novel, (Pigeon English) By Stephen Kelman (Author) Paperback on (Jul , 2011) and I always felt the tangential voice, if I can put it that way, diverged too much from the material. Its a writers choice, of course; show not tell. Infer rather than explain.It is a first novel and one cant be too critical of first novels but there just arent enough characters. He must have deliberately structured the book that way but by not developing the characters of the neighbours for example, or Baba's real business dealings, he has to invent unlikely scenes; the fire; the near-drowning; Moosa and his melting tyres and this line, 'Why dont you stuff this telephone up your arse'. Really?
I tend these days to avoid books or films 12 Years a Slave [Blu-ray]  which deal with mans inhumanity to man and I found this a tough read, even though as I say he comes at his subject obliquely. What would be better, a full on narrative of torture and imprisonment under a dictator and lunatic? No, you need to place real people in the situation to comprehend the horror; the voice of a nine year old just doesn't get to grips with it. Maybe if the adult Slooma had told the story straight, looking backwards it would have been better. We could still have heard his Mama's tale, still got a sense of terror. More sense of terror, actually.
Anyway it has won loads of awards and many 5* reviews on here but I honestly cant say I would go around recommending it.
The end is very well handled, by the way.