The Skin of Shagreen is a novel by French novelist Honoré de Balzac. The novel was first published in 1936. The main topic of the book is the confrontation between a layman and a deeply flawed society. The protagonist Raphaël de Valentin being so close to suicide buys a piece of shagreen in an antique shop by chance. It turns out that this purchase can grant any wish. But there is a problem: every time the wish is granted part of the person's life is taken. In this way, the protagonist is left with a choice: to live a short life for his enjoyment, or to abandon his desires and live a long, but joyless life.