a sequence of sentence fragments, each describing an item in a list.
"A flashlight, for power cuts, and a stock of AAs. A novel he should have selected more carefully if he was taking only one. An English-Swahili phrasebook, malaria pills, deet. Prescription cortisone cream for persistent eczema on his ankle, a tube that would soon run out."
from So Much for That by Lionel Shriver.
Paracatenation has several uses, but in this case it seems to bring the third person narration closer to the character's point-of-view. The absence of formal narration also suggests a distance between the list and any thinking about or reflection on the list. Many instances of paracatenation are metonymic for a character's internal stock-taking; the most well-known recent example is probably Tim O'Brien's short-story "The Things They Carried."
The Generalized Categorical
All entries in The Dictionary of Fictional Techniques are original to The Reading Ape, unless otherwise cited. (This means that they aren’t ‘real words,’ so don’t use them in your freshman comp essay)