I have a question regarding "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. The book is written in past tense and uses past perfect form to tell us of what had happened before, but in this sentence Cormac uses present perfect instead:
"In the produce section in the bottom of the bins they found a few ancient runner beans and what looked to have once been apricots, long dried to wrinkled effigies of themselves."
My question is why Cormac haven't written:
...and what looked to had once been apricots...
Is this a case of unwritten modal, as if: "and what looked to must/could have once been apricots"
Also in a spirit of the question above, how would native speaker react to such construction:
"They partied all night, loads of alcohol, not less drugs and sexual levity. The party has been sublime."
What if a whole chapter before this fragment had been only using past simple and past perfect, and then it tacked on this present perfect sentence; does it change the narrator from an observer to an active participant?