It is an 1831 novel by French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850). Set in early 19th-century Paris, it tells the story of a young man who finds a magic piece of shagreen that fulfills his every desire. For each wish granted, however, the skin shrinks and consumes a portion of his physical energy.
Something along the lines of "Dorian Gray" as part of the "Comedies Humane Philosophique", this is Balzac's first successful novel. He even wrote "criticisms" of the writing himself in promotion of the book, in addition to hyping the work before it even came out. It is a criticism of materialism and French bourgeoisie as so many of his compiled works seek to be. Some same characters reappear.