Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Wild Ass's Skin” as Want to Read:
The Wild Ass's Skin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

The Wild Ass's Skin

(La Comédie Humaine #68)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,954 ratings  ·  253 reviews
The Wild Ass's Skin is Honoré de Balzac's 1831 novel that tells the story of a young man, Raphaël de Valentin, who discovers a piece of shagreen, in this case a rough untanned piece of a wild ass's skin, which has the magical property of granting wishes. However the fulfillment of the wisher's desire comes at a cost, after each wish the skin shrinks a little bit and consum ...more
Paperback, 285 pages
Published June 30th 1977 by Penguin Classics (first published 1831)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Wild Ass's Skin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Wild Ass's Skin

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,954 ratings  ·  253 reviews

Sort order
Ahmad Sharabiani
La Peau de chagrin = The Wild Ass's Skin, Honoré de Balzac
La Peau de chagrin (The Skin of Sorrow or The Wild Ass's Skin) 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. La Peau de chagrin belongs to the Études philosophiques group of B
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
He made fun of everything, his own prospects included. Always short of money, he remained, like all men with a future before them, wallowing in inexpressible idleness, condensing a whole book into one epigram for the benefit of people who were incapable of putting one witticism into a whole book. Lavish of promises that he never kept, he had made his fortune and reputation into a cushion on which he slept, thus running the risk of coming to his senses, as an old man, in an almshouse. With all th ...more
Luís C.
The book is closed. I remain fascinated by the descriptions that, once I was immersed in the atmosphere allowed me to imagine every detail. I think the appearance of the old man who will reveal the shagreen to Raphael. The diabolical dimension of shagreen is paralleled with "The Damnation of Faust" by the author himself and it is interesting.
This era of the 19th century is seen by an author living in that period. This is quite different from a contemporary author who brings the past.
The pace of
ستایش  دشتی
من چندان آدم باحوصلهای نیستم و معمولا هم در کتاب خواندن شتابزدهام، بهویژه رمان که بیشتر برایم سرگرمی است. امّا چه چیزی باعث میشود بالزاک را با همهی طول و تفصیلهای آزارندهاش بپسندم؟
بالزاک میداند چطور باید داستان تعریف کند، و کمدی انسانی مینویسد. موشکافی انسانها در کتابهای بالزاک و تقلّایش برای به دست دادن شناختی نزدیک به حقیقت (که نهایتِ آن ناشدنیست) برایم رشکانگیز است؛ من بینهایت دوست دارم آدمها را موشکافی کنم و خوب میدانم این کار تا چه حد ناشدنی و در عین حال نزدیکشدنیست.
چرم ساغری داستانی بورخس
Note on the Text
Translator's Note
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Honoré de Balzac
Map: Paris in 1830

--The Wild Ass's Skin

Appendix: Balzac's Preface to the First Edition, August 1831
Explanatory Notes
Alp Turgut
Gücünü fantastik bir öğeden almasına rağmen gerçekçilik (realizm) akımının öncüllerinden biri olan “Tılsımlı Deri / The Wild Ass's Skin / La Peau de chagrin”, Fransız yazar Balzac’ın kaleminin ne kadar güçlü olduğunu her satırında okuma şansı bulduğumuz etkileyici ve sürükleyici bir eser. Balzac’ın eleştiri odağında burjuvazinin bulunduğu kitapta son parasını kumarda kaybettiği için intihar etmeye karar veren yazar Raphael’in intihar etmeden hemen öncesinde girdiği antikacı dükkanında bulduğu he ...more
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Малко по-малко от 5 звездички давам, само защото "Братовчедката Бет" ме вълнуваше малко повече.

Балзак пак ме плени с изящния си изказ, прекрасните, богати описания на хора, чувства, предмети, места, желания и състояния, както и с огромната си философия и познание на живота. Учудващо и дори стряскащо е как, толкова години по-късно, хората изобщо не сме се променили. Страдаме от същите болести на душата, предразсъдъци, поквари и по същия начин егото ни ни владее и мята насам-натам из живота. (Има
Niloofar Masoomi
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب خوبی بود اما برای خواندنش باید حوصله به خرج بدهی.
داستان جذاب و پر از جملات به یادموندنی است ولی نویسنده هر مسئله ای رو با جزئیات و وسواس زیاد تعریف می کنه که برای خواننده بی حوصله ای مثل من خواندن کتاب زمان بر بود.
در کل داستان عالی بود.
The Wild Ass's Skin - or The Magic Skin, as it's known in some editions (neither of those titles are particularly appealing, I know) - is a literary novel of magical realism. It's simultaneously a fantasy, a study of character, and a cautionary 'be careful what you wish for' tale. At the beginning we are introduced to a young man who seems deep in despair, gambling away his last coins and thereafter contemplating suicide. Delaying the hour of his impending death, Raphael (as we learn he's called ...more
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
This isn't the edition I read. My book is one translated by Atwood Townsend, with an excellent afterword by Henri Peyre. French title is Le Peau de chagrin.

Poor young poet (shades of Sorrowing Werther)contemplates suicide, procures a magical piece of leather that grants wishes but the talisman shrinks when he wishes. Excellent Faustianish premise. Unfortunately, I found protagonist Raphael so distasteful as a character I was continually annoyed, and then the ending, which falls entirely and con
حس میکنم توی صورتم مشت خورده.خیلی حرفای بی ربط داشت خیلی جاها به قول معروف روده درازی کرده بود که منم نمیخوندم میرفتم یکی دو صفحه جلو تر ولی بازم کتاب خوبی بود. نمیخوام از دید فلسفی به لایه های زیرین کتاب نگاه کنم ولی کتابی بود که میتونه یک نفرا را غرق کنه. پایان زندگی شخصیت اول کتاب فوق العاده بود بهترین پایان ممکنه بود یک عشق یک تمنا و یک مرگ "اون مال منه مگه نمیبینی خودم کشتمش" .کتابی نیست که هیچ وقت بخوام به کسی معرفیش کنم از اون کتاباییه که اگه از دستم بر می اومد همه نسخه های توی بازار را ج ...more
Lynne King
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book at university in French and it was one of my favourite books. I've since read it in English and it seems to lack something - "je ne sais quoi" but still it is a wonderful book.

Balzac is one of my favourite authors. He has such a style about him and he has turned this simple story into a richly flavoured one. Imagine, a young man in Paris, Raphaël de Valentin in 1830, down on his luck, even temporarily contemplating suicide. His surprise indeed overwhelms him when he serendipitou
Dec 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Кто бы знал что английское название такое смешное
Inès Gasparian
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was a great book!! I recommend it!!
Felipe Oquendo
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lidos-em-2017
Breve arrazoado sobre o romance filosófico “A Pele de Onagro”, de Honoré de Balzac.


Felipe Oquendo

Balzac é conhecido por todos e em toda parte como o pai do romance moderno e criador da monumental “Comédia Humana” (em oposição à Divina Comédia, de Dante), um portentoso edifício feito de personagens, tramas, dramas e reflexões vazados em romances, contos e novelas da melhor qualidade, ao qual dedicou sua vida, e inclusive sua própria saúde.

É supérfluo exaltar o gênio de Balzac, visto que
Somayeh Pourtalari
بیش از 2 سال پیش خوندن این کتاب رو شروع کردم و حالا در اخرین روزهای سال
2017 ازینکه بالاخره همت کردم و تمومش کردم واقعا خوشحالم .
درونمایه کتاب خیلی خوب بود ولی نثر کتاب بشدت با تکلف و توصیف ها بسیار مفصل! .
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
انوره دو بالزاك مقام بزرگي در ادبيات فرانسه وجهان اشغال ميكند ..اما كتاب ((چرم ساغري ))او يكي از اثاري است كه دوبالزاك علاوه بر سبك ((كمدي انساني ))انرا نوعي كتاب فلسفي هم قرار داده ..اين رمان با داستاني عجيب ونگاهي عميق به زندگي سوالات ومسايلي را در ذهن خواننده پديدار ميكند كه نياز به تفكر در نوع نگرش به زندگي فردي واجتماعي دارد
در اين داستان رافايل جواني است كه اشراف زاده بود اما در اثر ورشكستگي ومرگ پدر تمام ثروت مادري را خرج بدهي ها پدر ميكند وخود با اندك پولي كه برايش باقي مانده تصميم ميگيرد
Ben Dutton
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Literature in translation provides interesting reading experiences. I first read Honoré de Balzac’s La Peau de Chagrin in a translation by Herbert Hunt (which is the Penguin Classics translation) and over Christmas 2008 read it again in a translation by Ellen Marriage as part of the Thompson Publishing Company’s complete La Comédie Humaine, an eighteen volume set, of which La Peau de Chagrin is the first work. I have read some Balzac, but I am of the suspicion that this will remain my favourite ...more
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is for me one of Balzac's evergreen books -- I never grow tired of it. Think of it as a Buddhist tale by the Brothers Grimm, except that it has the usual Balzac suspects, including Horace Bianchon, Eugene de Rastignac, Taillefer, and a host of others.

The story is about how a young man about to commit suicide by throwing himself into the Thames visits a curio shop first and receives a magical talisman from the shop's aged owner. The talisman is a piece of wild ass's (or onager's) skin which
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una obra muy . Lectores a los que les pueda parecer pesada, pero yo lo he disfrutado. Me ha gustado tanto la estructura de la novela con cambios de narrador como las influencias que visto en otros libros más tardíos. Leer la piel de Zappa es ver obras posteriores que han bebido de ella. La piel de zapa influyó en mucho autores, Dorian Gray, la montaña mágica, los dos narradores de el corazón de las tinieblas, etc es inevitable se acordando de unos días mientras lees esta obra.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Điều làm mình ngại đọc ở các tác phẩm kinh điển đó là tác giả thường sử dụng quá nhiều điển tích, những nhân vật từ vài đến chục thế kỉ trước để so sánh, ẩn dụ sự vật/ sự việc trong tác phẩm làm cho mình rất khó cảm thụ trọn vẹn tác phẩm. Tiểu thuyết miếng da lừa này của Balzac cũng không là ngoại lệ, bên cạnh đó văn phong kinh điển Pháp lại càng khó nhai hơn -.-. Đoạn đầu hơi khó hiểu nhưng qua 1/3 cuốn thì không thể buông cuốn sách xuống được thật :v.
Chàng trai quý tộc nghèo Raphaël - một tài
La Peau de Chagrin is a curiously crafted novel – the richness of its ideas and descriptions is truly romanesque, yet the essence of the plot, an intermingling of human psychologies with the supernatural, makes it feel like a fairy tale. The doomed hero, Raphaël de Valentin, goes through a number of different trials, which multiply and become condensed the closer he comes to his end; a sort of genius, genuine and male Emma Bovary, or young Faust, or artistic Dorian Gray, his life is a degenerati ...more
Guillermo Gonca
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Si nos plantearamos la pregunta de quién sería el mejor escritor de los últimos doscientos años, muchos nombres nos vendrían a la mente. En mi humilde opinión, existe un candidato imposible de descartar; un escritor verdaderamente dotado de todos los elementos que caracterizan a un escritor grandioso, cuya obra deslumbrante quedará dentro del patrimonio cultural de la humanidad por mucho tiempo. Me refiero al francés Honoré de Balzac.

"La piel de Zapa" publicada en 1831, pudiera ser la obra liter
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Es necesario indicar que comencé este libro sin mucha esperanza. A pesar de que Balzac es un clásico de la literatura, nunca lo había leído, y no tenía muy buena experiencias con la literatura francesa del siglo XIX. Quizás por lo mismo, este libro me sorprendió.

Creo que más allá del argumento de esta obra, es la forma como está narrada su fuerte, y las reflexiones de los personajes. Es evidente la grandeza de Balzac y su influencia de grandes autores, desde Dostoievski hasta Marx. Su prosa se
ما هرگز برای بلهوسی های خود پول کم نداریم، فقط سر قیمت چیزهای مفید و لازم چانه می زنیم.
برای یک دختر رقاص سکه های طلا می ریزیم، اما با کارگری که خانواده گرسنه اش به انتظار پرداخت یک صورت حساب است بحث می کنیم.
هر قدر هم که ما برای لذات خودپسندی پول بدهیم، باز هرگز در نظر ما چندان گران نیست...!
Javier Avilés
La narrativa contemporánea nació en Francia a finales del siglo XIX. Flaubert y Balzac, por supuesto, son responsables de ello.
En La piel de zapa la historia es no lineal, entremezcla lo fantástico con el realismo, la crítica social con la historia sentimental. La parte central es un larguísimo monólogo del personaje protagonista en el que nos desvela las circunstancias que le han abocado a una situación trágica. Es un fragmento, el núcleo de la novela, de una exigencia lectora muy alta. De esas
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gli ho dato 4 stelle perché il finale è palpitante e grandioso, in un crescendo di tragicità che crea quasi un malessere nel lettore. Però questo romanzo di Balzac non mi ha stregato, in alcuni momenti mi ha annoiato, riconosco la bellezza della scrittura, la sua ricchezza ed esuberanza che solo in Balzac trovo,che però in questo romanzo sono esagerate come da un’ansia enciclopedica dello scrittore (che rallenta la lettura e la rende pesante); quando leggo Balzac ho la sensazione che la sua penn ...more
Beka Sukhitashvili
Feb 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: french
ბალზაკის სიტყვაკაზმულობა ძალიან მომეწონა, თუ როგორ აღწერს ის მოვლენებსა და სიტუაციებს, როგორ ახასიათებს პერსონაჟებს. წიგნში მრავლად იყო ამაღელვებელი მომენტები, რამაც კულმინაციას ფინალში მიაღწია.
ადამიანი, ამ წიგნიდან ბევრს ისწავლის და გაიგებს, თუმცა ეს ჩემი ჟანრი არაა და არც მსგავსი სიუჟეტები მხიბლავს.
ცოტა გაურკვეველია, ქართველი ერის საყვარელი წიგნი რა დამსახურების გამოა [#1 "50 წიგნი, რომელიც უნდა წაიკითხო, სანამ ცოცხალი ხარ"

I liked the Balzac's word, how he describes events and situations, how
The Magic Skin (La Peau de Chagrin), also translated as Wild Ass's Skin, contains one of my favorite descriptive scenes in all of Balzac--that of the antique shop.

A young man, by appearance noble but impoverished, enters a gambling house for the first time and leaves shortly thereafter, having lost his small stake. He walks along the banks of the Seine determined to drown himself. It seems degrading to die thusly in broad daylight, so he strolls on, awaiting darkness.

An antique shop attracts his
Sarah Dorothea
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 out of 5 stars! ⭐ This must be one of my favourite novels by Balzac. I absolutely loved how the story was told and the idea of this magic skin was so so great. Well I guess this novel would be loved by anyone who enjoys reading a good book. A very nice classic indeed. I have to say it’s probably also one of my faves because it was my professor’s favourite book and he was my fave, so yeah! 😍📚📖 ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - The Wild Ass's Skin by Honore de Balzac 1 6 Dec 17, 2017 04:25PM  
greatest parties in literature 3 14 Aug 16, 2013 08:42AM  
  • Pot Luck
  • Afloat
  • Bouvard and Pécuchet with The Dictionary of Received Ideas
  • Les Diaboliques
  • La confession d'un enfant du siècle
  • Germinie Lacerteux
  • Horace
  • Tomorrow's Eve
  • Le Capitaine Fracasse
  • Les Caractères
Honoré de Balzac was a nineteenth-century French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815.

Due to his keen observation of fine detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the found

Other books in the series

La Comédie Humaine (1 - 10 of 89 books)
  • La Maison Du Chat-Qui-Pelote
  • The Ball At Sceaux
  • Letters of Two Brides
  • The Purse
  • Modeste Mignon
  • A Start in Life
  • Albert Savarus
  • Vendetta
  • A Second Home
  • Domestic Peace
“Il ya toute une vie dans une heure d'amour.” 27 likes
“There is something noble as well as terrible about suicide. The downfall of many men is not dangerous, for they fall like children, too near the ground to do themselves harm. But when a great man breaks, he has soared up to the heavens, espied some inaccessible paradise, and then fallen from a great height. The forces that make him seek peace from the barrel of a gun cannot be placated. How many young talents confined to an attic room wither and perish for lack of a friend, a consoling wife, alone in the midst of a million fellow humans, while throngs of people weary of gold are bored with their possessions.” 11 likes
More quotes…