Another unnerving silence as her face turned suddenly bleak with memory

emsr2d2

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The only verb is "turned". "Bleak" is an adjective.

Would it have been easier for you to understand if it had said "... her face turned suddenly sad ..."?
 
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Rover_KE

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There is no main verb here, so it's not a sentence.
 
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Tdol

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Where is the verb of the sentence?

Would the text have been more emotionally charged if the sentence began with There was? We read literature to move us, etc. John le Carré is a master of slow-moving tension and suspense, which can carry on over batches of novels. We don't read him to see if every sentence he writes meets all the requirements of grammar textbooks.

The true answer to your question is No one cares- we want a narrative that takes us places and makes us feel and see things. If there are sentences that lack main verbs, most couldn't really care. You will see creative writers breaking rules- it's an accepted practice. Go with the flow as long as the writing and story justifies it. John le Carré is a writer who combines the spy genre with serious literature, so just buckle up and accept that a few rules may be broken along the way.

Shakespeare and Jane Austen used terrible grammar. They weren't using their literary writing to pass Cambridge First Certificate. ;-)
 

Tdol

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BTW That is, for me, one of John le Carré's weaker books.
 
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